Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Framework Adjustment 52, 68396-68404 [2014-27084]

Download as PDF 68396 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 140507412–4914–01] RIN 0648–BE22 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Framework Adjustment 52 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: Framework Adjustment 52 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan proposes two modifications to the windowpane flounder accountability measures. First, the size of the accountability measure gear restricted areas could be reduced if NMFS determines that improvements in windowpane flounder stock health occurred despite the catch limits being exceeded. Second, the duration of the accountability measure could be shortened if NMFS determines that an overage of the catch limit did not occur the previous fishing year. The proposed measures would allow NMFS to implement accountability measures based on more current survey and catch data. This proposed action is intended to increase fishing opportunities for the groundfish fishery while still preventing overfishing. DATES: Comments must be received by December 2, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2014–0079, by any of the following methods: • Electronic submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20140079, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on the Proposed Rule for Groundfish Framework Adjustment 52.’’ Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 Jkt 235001 individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Copies of Framework 52, its Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), a draft of the environmental assessment (EA) prepared for this action, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared by the New England Fishery Management Council are available from Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. The IRFA assesses the impacts of the proposed measures on small entities, and describes steps taken to minimize any significant economic impact on these entities. A summary of the IRFA is included in the Classification section of this proposed rule. The Framework 52 EA, RIR, and IRFA are also accessible via the Internet at www.nefmc.org/ nemulti/index.html or www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainable/species/multispecies/ index.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Whitmore, Fishery Policy Analyst, phone: 978–281–9182. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Current Windowpane Flounder Accountability Measures Framework 47 to the Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) modified the accountability measures (AMs) for non-allocated stocks to ensure that sector vessels, as well as common pool vessels, were held accountable for catch overages (77 FR 26104; May 2, 2012). The current AMs for windowpane flounder are small and/ or large year-round gear-restricted areas (Figure 1). The AMs are triggered when the total catch of windowpane flounder, in either the Northern or Southern stock area, exceeds the allowable limit. When these AMs are in effect, bottom-trawl vessels fishing in these areas are required to use selective trawl gear that reduces flatfish catch. Approved PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 selective trawl gears include the haddock separator trawl, the Ruhle trawl, the rope trawl, and any other gears authorized by the Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator at the request of the New England Fishery Management Council. There are no restrictions on longline or gillnet gear because these gear types rarely catch flatfish. As currently used, the size of the AM gear-restricted area implemented following an overage depends on the degree to which the catch limit is exceeded (Figure 1). The size of the AM area is adjusted in correlation with the magnitude of the overage or its effects. For larger overages, a larger area is used. The larger area is intended to reduce catch of windowpane flounder to help correct for the overage and thereby also mitigate the effects of the overage on the stock. A smaller correction is required for smaller overages; therefore, a smaller AM area is applied. In specific application, the overage first has to be greater than the management uncertainty buffer (which is currently 5 percent) for a windowpane flounder AM to be triggered. If the overage is greater than 5 and up to 20 percent of the overall annual catch limit, the small AM gear restricted area is triggered. If the overage is more than 20 percent of the overall annual catch limit, the large AM gear restricted area is triggered. The AMs for the groundfish fishery or any other fisheries are triggered only if the total catch limit for the stock is exceeded and the fishery specific catch limit is also exceeded. Because scallop vessels have a separate allocation of southern windowpane flounder, the groundfish southern New England AM gear restricted area is only triggered when both the groundfish-specific and total-stock catch limits are exceeded (Figure 2). Because the AMs are meant to restrict catch by common pool and sector vessels, sectors cannot request an exemption from an AM. More detailed information on Framework 47, including how windowpane flounder AMs are implemented, is available at http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries. noaa.gov/nero/regs/frdoc/12/ 12MulFW47FR.pdf. The final rule implementing Framework 48 (78 FR 26118, May 3, 2013, see page 26124) included an allocation of southern windowpane flounder to the scallop fishery and some other non-groundfish fisheries starting in fishing year 2013. Allocating this stock to other fisheries will help ensure that other fisheries are held accountable for their catch in the future and that an E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM 17NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules 68397 overage by one of these fisheries would not negatively impact another. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Figure 1 Gear restricted AMs for windowpane flounder \ Northl!!rn Wlndowp;ilnll Flounder {NWF) (AM) Ar~~aa Ac~CCU!Ittlib!lityMIIasure VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM 17NOP1 EP17NO14.001</GPH> mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS South~~rn WindOwpane Flounder Aceountablflty Measure (AM) An~aa Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–C Windowpane Flounder Catch Limits Were Exceeded in Fishing Years 2012 and 2013 Table 1 details final catch information for fishing year 2012. The northern windowpane flounder catch limit was exceeded by 28 percent, while the southern windowpane flounder catch limit was exceeded by 36 percent. The fishing year 2012 final catch report can be found online at: http://www.nero. noaa.gov/ro/fso/reports/Groundfish_ Catch_Accounting.htm. Although catch from non-groundfish fisheries contributed to the northern windowpane flounder overage, the AM applies solely to the groundfish fishery because none of these other fisheries received a northern windowpane flounder allocation in fishing year 2012. Because the fishing year 2012 overages (in this case, year 1) were not identified until fishing year 2013 (year 2), the large AM gear restricted areas in both Southern New England and on Georges Bank were implemented on May 1, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 Jkt 235001 2014, the beginning of the 2014 fishing year (year 3). Table 2 presents preliminary 2013 catch estimates from March 19, 2014. Despite not having catch estimates for the sub-components from other nongroundfish fisheries, the commercial northern windowpane flounder catch estimate (227 mt), which we consider to be reliable data, exceeded the allowable biological catch (151 mt) by 50 percent. Thus, in addition to the 2014 triggered AM due to overages that occurred in fishing year 2012, the fishing year 2013 overage also triggered the same 2014 AM. Table 3 presents final fishing year 2013 catch data for windowpane flounder. In order for the southern groundfish fishery AM gear restricted area to be triggered, the overall catch limit has to be exceeded, as well as groundfish fishery sub-annual catch limit (see Figure 2). Currently, catch data indicate that the groundfish fishery slightly exceeded its southern windowpane flounder catch limit, but it remains PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 unclear if the overall southern windowpane flounder catch limit was exceeded. AMs From Framework 47 Result in Severe Economic Impacts Although we approved the windowpane flounder AMs in Framework 47, the accompanying environmental assessment estimated the economic costs from these AMs to be as much as $15 million. The environmental assessment did not foresee the full scope of the costs combined with other developments. Following substantial reductions in the 2013 catch limits for many key groundfish stocks, groundfish vessels have become increasingly more reliant on some flatfish species, particularly winter flounder. When the windowpane flounder AMs were developed, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic winter flounder was a non-allocated stock, and, therefore, revenue from winter flounder landings was not included in the estimated costs. As a E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM 17NOP1 EP17NO14.002</GPH> 68398 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules result, the windowpane flounder AMs we implemented for fishing year 2014 are likely having an even greater economic impact on the fleet than anticipated in Framework 47 due to the loss of the opportunity to fish for winter flounder. At the request of some industry members, the Council agreed to review the windowpane flounder AMs in Framework 52 to see if they could be modified in a way that still corrects the overage and mitigates the effects of the overage but also reduces the economic costs to industry. Framework 52 Framework 52 would modify the current AMs for southern and northern windowpane flounder by allowing NMFS to update survey and catch information to better determine the most appropriate AM in correlation to the conditions of the stock or whether the applicable catch limits were exceeded. This action proposes two alternatives that would reduce the scope of the northern or southern windowpane flounder AM in size or duration if: (1) The stock is rebuilt and it can be determined that there were improvements in windowpane flounder stock health; or (2) the fishery remains within its catch limits the year following an overage. These alternatives are not mutually exclusive and could be used within the same fishing year. The proposed measures are intended to help prevent overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks while reducing economic impacts, using the best scientific information available. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Reducing the Size of the AM After Analyzing Recent Survey and Catch Data The first alternative proposes to reduce the scope of the AM gear restricted area from large to small if the stock is rebuilt and we can determine that the windowpane flounder ‘‘biomass criterion’’ is greater than the catch from the most recent fishing year. In this case, the biomass criterion is defined as the 3-year average of the three most recent fall scientific surveys multiplied VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 Jkt 235001 by 75 percent of the Fmsy from the most recent stock assessment. Meeting or exceeding the biomass criterion indicates that overfishing was likely not occurring and that large AM areas could be reduced (i.e., the small AM is sufficient to correct and mitigate the effects of the overage because the consequences of the overage on the stock are likely less than previously assumed). Additional information on the biomass criterion can be found in Appendix 1 to the Framework 52 environmental assessment. This change would incorporate a review of recent survey catch data and a comparison of the trends in survey catch to the actual commercial catch to ensure that the correct AM gear restricted area is implemented. Reviewing additional survey data would allow managers to better account for uncertainties in the index-based stock assessment model that is used because it relates any potential overage in catch back to the biomass and catch trends used in the stock assessment. This action does not change the actual gear restricted area AMs developed under Framework 47. Reducing the Duration of an AM InSeason If a Subsequent Overage Does Not Occur As explained above, AMs must be implemented as soon as possible after an overage is identified to correct the operational issue causing, or mitigate any biological consequences from, the overage. Because stock allocations are divided among several different fisheries, as well as other fishery subcomponents that do not actually receive an allocation (e.g., state-waters fisheries), we need to include catch by all groups prior to verifying where the catch limit was exceeded. We do not receive year-end data from the other sub-component fisheries until late summer. Once we receive complete catch information in late August/early September, an AM implemented in year 3 (following an overage in year 1 and an underage in year 2) could be shortened PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 68399 by removing it in season, consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. This alternative would provide an incentive for industry to modify its fishing behavior in an effort to reduce the duration of an AM in year 3, and remove the need for continuing an AM. Furthermore, because this option does not require a pound for pound payback, and because the underage could be due to a reduction in stock size, the reduced catch expected to result from the delay in removing an implemented AM in year 3 would provide an additional buffer against any such remaining management uncertainty. This alternative is not applicable if, utilizing reliable catch data (such as observed discards), we determine that the current season’s windowpane flounder catch limit has been exceeded because it would be inconsistent for us to remove an AM in-season while planning for an AM the following year. Changes to Fishing Year 2014 AMs For northern windowpane flounder, neither of the alternatives would apply to the fishing year 2014 Georges Bank gear restricted area AM. This is because the northern windowpane flounder stock is considered overfished, subject to overfishing, and because catch limits for this stock were exceeded in fishing years 2012 and 2013 (Tables 1 and 3). However, the southern windowpane flounder stock is not overfished or subject to overfishing, is rebuilt, and an initial review shows that the biomass criterion is greater than the fishing year 2013 catch. This information indicates that we would be able to reduce the size of the Southern New England/MidAtlantic gear restricted area AM from large to small. The southern windowpane flounder catch limit was exceeded in fishing year 2013, so the second alternative criterion is not met and we would be unable to remove the small AM restricted gear area midseason (Table 3). BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM 17NOP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 68400 2012 Wind Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Northern Windowpane Flounder Southern Windowpane Flounder / Groundtish sub-ACL Total Allocation 230 173 129 515 386 72 Frm 00025 Fishin!! Y 2013 Wind Fl Stock Fmt 4702 Northern Windowpane Flounder Sfmt 4702 Southern Windowpane Flounder Catch Total Ground fish Fishery State Waters Fishery Non-Groundfis h Fisheries 163 209 130 2 77 381 521 107 34 380 der Catch C C':mundfish E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM Table 3 Final Fishin!! Y h 19. 2014) Other State Scallop Waters I Sub-component I Total Catch Limit 98 2 44 144 Preliminary FY2013 Catch 227 NA NA 227 Catch Limit 102 2013 Wind Stock 17NOP1 Northern Windowpane Flounder fM t 55 Fl der Catch C ' Ground fish Catch Limit 186 527 NA NA 210 183 Preliminary FY2013 Catch 104 106 1 Inseason catch estimates are not available for state waters or the other sub-component Southern Windowpane Flounder EP17NO14.003</GPH> t) Overtishing Limit Stock Table 2 Prer der Catch C ' Fl Acceptable Biological Catch t) / 98 State Waters Other Subcomponent Total 2 Scallop 44 144 FY 2013 Catch 237 I 42 280 Catch Limit 102 183 55 186 116 129 37 272 555 195 527 FY2013 Catch % ofCatch Limit Caught 105 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 BILLING CODE 3510–22–C VerDate Sep<11>2014 Table 1 Fishin!! Y Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules Regulatory Correction Under Regional Administrator Authority To clarify the intent of Framework 47, this rule would change the regulatory text at 50 CFR 648.90(a)(5)(i)(D)(1), 648.90(a)(5)(i)(D)(2), and 648.90(a)(5)(i)(D)(3) to explain that a large AM area is implemented if the overage is greater than 20 percent of the overall annual catch limit. While reviewing the regulations for windowpane flounder AMs, we discovered that the regulations detailing the large and small AMs for windowpane flounder, ocean pout, Atlantic halibut, and Atlantic wolffish were different than approved in Framework 47. The current regulations incorrectly state that a small AM is implemented if an overage is between 5 and 20 percent of the overall annual catch limit and a large AM is implemented if the overage is 21 percent or more. This mistakenly leaves a void between 20 and 21 percent. The Council also stipulated in Framework 48 that any overage greater than 20 percent would require a review of the AM for Atlantic halibut and Atlantic wolffish. This provision was not part of Framework 47 when AMs were established for windowpane flounder and ocean pout and is being removed from § 648.90(a)(5)(i)(D)(1). Lastly, the regulations currently state that a large AM area is implemented for both Atlantic halibut and Atlantic wolffish if the overall ACL is exceeded by more than 20 percent. This is incorrect; there are no large or small AM areas for Atlantic halibut and Atlantic wolffish, only specific trawl and fixed gear AMs that are applied when there is an overage greater than the management uncertainty buffer. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has made a preliminary determination that this proposed rule is consistent with Framework 52, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. In making the final determination, NMFS will consider the data, views, and comments received during the public comment period. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. This proposed rule does not contain policies with Federalism or ‘‘takings’’ implications as those terms are defined in E.O. 13132 and E.O. 12630, respectively. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 Jkt 235001 An Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was prepared for this proposed rule, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603. The IRFA includes this section of the preamble to this rule and analyses contained in Framework 52 and its accompanying EA/RIR/IRFA. The IRFA describes the economic impact that this proposed rule would have on small entities, if adopted. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this action are contained in Framework 52, the beginning of this section (SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION) in the preamble, and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A copy of the full analysis is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows. 68401 school districts, or special districts, with population of fewer than 50,000. This proposed action impacts commercial fish harvesting entities engaged in the Northeast multispecies limited access fishery. A description of the specific permits that are likely to be impacted is included below for informational purposes, followed by a discussion of the impacted businesses (ownership entities), which can include multiple vessels and/or permit types. For the purposes of the RFA analysis, the ownership entities (not the individual vessels) are considered to be the regulated entities. Limited Access Groundfish Fishery The limited access groundfish fisheries are further sub-classified as those enrolled in the sector allocation program and those in the common pool. Description and Estimate of the Number Sector vessels are subject to sector-level of Small Entities To Which the Proposed stock-specific allocations that limit Rule Would Apply catch of allocated groundfish stocks. AMs include a prohibition on fishing A detailed description of the small inside designated areas once 100 entities that may be affected by this percent of available sector allocation has action can be found in the Framework 52 Environmental Assessment in section been caught, as well as area-based gear and effort restrictions that are triggered 8.11.2.4. Small entities include ‘‘small businesses,’’ ‘‘small organizations,’’ and when catch of non-allocated groundfish ‘‘small governmental jurisdictions.’’ The stocks exceeds the catch limits. Common pool vessels are subject to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has established size standards for various days-at-sea and trip limits designed to keep catches below the all major industry sectors in the U.S. including commercial finfish harvesters, limits set for vessels enrolled in this program. In general, sector-enrolled commercial shellfish harvesters, other businesses rely more heavily on sales of commercial marine harvesters, for-hire groundfish species than common poolbusinesses, marinas, seafood dealers/ enrolled vessels. All limited access wholesalers, and seafood processors. multispecies permit holders are eligible A small business is defined by the to participate in the sector allocation SBA as one that is: program; however, many permit holders • Independently owned and operated; select to remain in the common pool • not dominant in its field of fishery. operation (including its affiliates); As of May 1, 2014 (beginning of • has combined annual receipts not fishing year 2014) there were 1,046 in excess of individual limited access multispecies Æ $20.5 million for all its affiliated permits. A total of 613 of these permits operations worldwide for commercial were enrolled in the sector program and finfish harvesting; 433 were enrolled in the common pool. Æ $5.5 million for all its affiliated Of these 1,046 limited access operations worldwide for commercial multispecies permits, 767 had landings shellfish harvesting; or of any species and 414 had groundfish Æ $7.5 million for other marine landings in fishing year 2013. harvesters, for-hire businesses, and Ownership Entities other related entities; and • has fewer than Individually-permitted vessels may Æ 500 employees in the case of hold permits for several fisheries, seafood processors; or harvesting species of fish that are Æ 100 employees in the case of regulated by several different fishery seafood dealers. management plans, even beyond those impacted by the proposed action. A small organization is any not-forFurthermore, multiple permitted vessels profit enterprise that is independently and/or permits may be owned by owned and operated and is not entities affiliated by stock ownership, dominant in its field. Small common management, identity of governmental jurisdictions are interest, contractual relationships or governments of cities, boroughs, economic dependency. For the purposes counties, towns, townships, villages, PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM 17NOP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 68402 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules of this analysis, ownership entities are defined as those entities with common ownership personnel as listed on permit application documentation. Only permits with identical ownership personnel are categorized as an ownership entity. For example, if five permits have the same seven personnel listed as co-owners on their application paperwork, those seven personnel form one ownership entity, covering those five permits. If one or several of the seven owners also own additional vessels, with sub-sets of the original seven personnel or with new co-owners, those ownership arrangements are deemed to be separate ownership entities for the purpose of this analysis. Ownership entities are identified on June 1st of each year based on the list of all permit numbers, for the most recent complete calendar year, that have applied for any type of Northeast Federal fishing permit. The current ownership data set is based on calendar year 2013 permits and contains average gross sales associated with those permits for calendar years 2011 through 2013. Matching the potentially impacted permits described above (fishing year 2014) to the calendar year 2013 ownership data results in 868 distinct ownership entities. Of these, 855 are categorized as small and 13 are categorized as large entities per the SBA guidelines. These totals may mask some diversity among the entities. Many, if not most, of these ownership entities maintain diversified harvest portfolios, obtaining gross sales from many fisheries and not dependent on any one. However, not all are equally diversified. Those that depend most heavily on sales from harvesting species impacted directly by the proposed action are most likely to be affected. By defining dependence as deriving greater than 50 percent of gross sales from sales of regulated species associated with a specific fishery, we are able to identify those ownership groups most likely to be impacted by the proposed regulations. Using this threshold, we find that 114 entities are groundfish-dependent, all of which are small and all of which are finfish commercial harvesting businesses. Of the 114 groundfish-dependent entities, 102 have some level of participation in the sector program and 12 operate exclusively in the common pool. Economic Impacts of the Proposed Measures and Alternatives The proposed action is expected to have generally positive economic impacts, and we do not expect the action to put small entities at a VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 Jkt 235001 competitive disadvantage relative to large entities. Impacts on profitability from the proposed action are likely to positively affect both small and large entities in a broadly similar manner. This IRFA analysis is intended to analyze the impacts of the alternatives described in section 4.1 of Framework 52 on small entities. The proposed action alters the criteria for triggering AMs for windowpane flounder, and may result in either smaller AM gear restricted areas (i.e., duration or size) in the Southern New England or Georges Bank gear restricted areas or an increased likelihood that a triggered AM in either/both areas could be removed in-season once catch information from the previous year is made available. These provisions are expected to positively impact profitability of small entities regulated by this action. The proposed action is expected to result in either a lower probability of an AM remaining in place for a given year or a smaller gear restricted area (i.e., duration or time). In all cases, the proposed action is expected to have positive economic impacts to small groundfish-dependent entities relative to the no action alternative. A more detailed discussion of the expected economic and social impacts can be found in sections 7.4 and 7.5 of the Framework 52 environmental assessment. Description of the Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements of the Proposed Rule The Framework 52 proposed rule is not expected to create any additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: November 6, 2014. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. a. In § 648.90, revise paragraphs (a)(5)(i)(D)(1), (a)(5)(i)(D)(2) and (a)(5)(i)(D)(3), add paragraphs (a)(5)(i)(D)(1)(i) and (a)(5)(i)(D)(1)(ii), to read as follows: ■ PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 § 648.90 NE multispecies assessment, framework procedures and specifications, and flexible area action system. * * * * * (a) * * * (5) * * * (i) * * * (D) * * * (1) Windowpane flounder and ocean pout—Unless otherwise specified in paragraphs (a)(5)(i)(D)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, if NMFS determines the total catch exceeds the overall ACL for either stock of windowpane flounder or ocean pout, as described in this paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D)(1), by any amount greater than the management uncertainty buffer up to 20 percent greater than the overall ACL, the applicable small AM area for the stock shall be implemented, as specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. If the overall ACL is exceeded by more than 20 percent, the applicable large AM area(s) for the stock shall be implemented, as specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. The AM areas defined below are bounded by the following coordinates, connected in the order listed by rhumb lines, unless otherwise noted. Vessels fishing with trawl gear in these areas may only use a haddock separator trawl, as specified in § 648.85(a)(3)(iii)(A); a Ruhle trawl, as specified in § 648.85(b)(6)(iv)(J)(3); a rope separator trawl, as specified in § 648.84(e); or any other gear approved consistent with the process defined in § 648.85(b)(6). If an overage of the overall ACL for southern windowpane flounder is as a result of an overage of the sub-ACL allocated to exempted fisheries pursuant to paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(F) of this section, the applicable AM area(s) shall be in effect for any trawl vessel fishing with a codend mesh size of greater than or equal to 5 inches (12.7 cm) in other, non-specified sub-components of the fishery, including, but not limited to, exempted fisheries that occur in Federal waters and fisheries harvesting exempted species specified in § 648.80(b)(3). If an overage of the overall ACL for southern windowpane flounder is as a result of an overage of the sub-ACL allocated to the groundfish fishery pursuant to paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(H)(2) of this section, the applicable AM area(s) shall be in effect for any limited access NE multispecies permitted vessel fishing on a NE multispecies DAS or sector trip. If an overage of the overall ACL for southern windowpane flounder is as a result of overages of both the groundfish fishery E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM 17NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules and exempted fishery sub-ACLs, the applicable AM area(s) shall be in effect for both the groundfish fishery and exempted fisheries. If a sub-ACL for either stock of windowpane flounder or ocean pout is allocated to another fishery, consistent with the process specified at § 648.90(a)(4), and there are AMs for that fishery, the groundfish fishery AM shall only be implemented if the sub-ACL allocated to the groundfish fishery is exceeded (i.e., the sector and common pool catch for a particular stock, including the common pool’s share of any overage of the overall ACL caused by excessive catch by other sub-components of the fishery pursuant to § 648.90(a)(5) exceeds the common pool sub-ACL) and the overall ACL is also exceeded. NORTHERN WINDOWPANE FLOUNDER AND OCEAN POUT SMALL AM AREA Point 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... N. Latitude 41°10′ 41°10′ 41°00′ 41°00′ 40°50′ 40°50′ 41°10′ W. Longitude 67°40′ 67°20′ 67°20′ 67°00′ 67°00′ 67°40′ 67°40′ NORTHERN WINDOWPANE FLOUNDER AND OCEAN POUT LARGE AM AREA Point 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... N. Latitude 42°10′ 42°10′ 41°00′ 41°00′ 40°50′ 40°50′ 42°10′ W. Longitude 67°40′ 67°20′ 67°20′ 67°00′ 67°00′ 67°40′ 67°40′ SOUTHERN WINDOWPANE FLOUNDER AND OCEAN POUT SMALL AM AREA Point mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 1 2 3 4 1 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... N. Latitude 41°10′ 41°10′ 40°50′ 40°50′ 41°10′ W. Longitude 71°30′ 71°20′ 71°20′ 71°30′ 71°30′ SOUTHERN WINDOWPANE FLOUNDER AND OCEAN POUT SMALL AM AREA 1 Point 1 2 3 4 5 6 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 N. Latitude 41°10′ 41°10′ 41°00′ 41°00′ 40°50′ 40°50′ 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 W. Longitude 71°50′ 71°10′ 71°10′ 71°20′ 71°20′ 71°50′ Jkt 235001 68403 SOUTHERN WINDOWPANE FLOUNDER uncertainty buffer, the applicable AM AND OCEAN POUT SMALL AM AREA areas shall be implemented and any vessel issued a NE multispecies permit 1—Continued or a limited access monkfish permit and fishing under the monkfish Category C or D permit provisions, may not fish for, 1 ..................... 41°10′ 71°50′ possess, or land Atlantic halibut for the fishing year in which the AM is SOUTHERN WINDOWPANE FLOUNDER implemented, as specified in paragraph AND OCEAN POUT LARGE AM AREA 2 (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section. If the overall ACL is exceeded by more than 20 Point N. Latitude W. Longitude percent, the applicable AM area(s) for the stock shall be implemented, as 1 ..................... (1) 73°30′ specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this 2 ..................... 40°30′ 73°30′ section, and the Council shall revisit the 3 ..................... 40°30′ 73°50′ AM in a future action. The AM areas 4 ..................... 40°20′ 73°50′ 5 ..................... 40°20′ (2) defined below are bounded by the 6 ..................... (3) 73°58.5′ following coordinates, connected in the 7 ..................... (4) 73°58.5′ order listed by rhumb lines, unless 8 ..................... 40°32.6′ 5 73°56.4′ 5 otherwise noted. Any vessel issued a 1) 1 ..................... ( 73°30′ limited access NE multispecies permit 1 The southernmost coastline of Long Island, and fishing with trawl gear in the NY, at 73°30′ W. longitude. Atlantic Halibut Trawl Gear AM Area 2 The easternmost coastline of NJ at 40°20′ N. latitude, then northward along the NJ coast- may only use a haddock separator trawl, line to Point 6. as specified in § 648.85(a)(3)(iii)(A); a 3 The northernmost coastline of NJ at Ruhle trawl, as specified in 73°58.5′ W. longitude. 4 The southernmost coastline of Long Island, § 648.85(b)(6)(iv)(J)(3); a rope separator NY at 73°58.5′ W. longitude. trawl, as specified in § 648.84(e); or any 5 The approximate location of the southwest other gear approved consistent with the corner of the Rockaway Peninsula, Queens, NY, then eastward along the southernmost process defined in § 648.85(b)(6). When coastline of Long Island, NY (excluding South in effect, a limited access NE Oyster Bay), back to Point 1. multispecies permitted vessel with (i) Reducing the size of an AM. If the gillnet or longline gear may not fish or overall northern or southern be in the Atlantic Halibut Fixed Gear windowpane flounder ACL is exceeded AM Areas, unless transiting with its by more than 20 percent and NMFS gear stowed in accordance with determines that: The stock is rebuilt, § 648.23(b), or such gear was approved and the biomass criterion, as defined by consistent with the process defined in the Council, is greater than the most § 648.85(b)(6). If a sub-ACL for Atlantic recent fishing year’s catch, then only the halibut is allocated to another fishery, respective small AM may be consistent with the process specified at implemented as described in paragraph § 648.90(a)(4), and there are AMs for (a)(5)(i)(D)(1) of this section consistent that fishery, the groundfish fishery AM with the Administrative Procedure Act. shall only be implemented if the sub(ii) Reducing the duration of an AM. If the northern or southern windowpane ACL allocated to the groundfish fishery is exceeded (i.e., the sector and common flounder AM is implemented in the pool catch for a particular stock, third fishing year following the year of including the common pool’s share of an overage, as described in paragraph any overage of the overall ACL caused (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section, and NMFS by excessive catch by other subsubsequently determines that the components of the fishery pursuant to applicable windowpane flounder ACL § 648.90(a)(5) exceeds the common pool was not exceeded by any amount the sub-ACL) and the overall ACL is also year immediately after which the exceeded. overage occurred (i.e., the second year), on or after September 1, the AM can be removed once year-end data are ATLANTIC HALIBUT TRAWL GEAR AM complete. This reduced duration does AREA not apply if NMFS determines during year 3 that a year 3 overage of the Point N. Latitude W. Longitude applicable windowpane flounder ACL 1 ..................... 42°00′ 69°20′ has occurred. 2 ..................... 42°00′ 68°20′ (2) Atlantic halibut. If NMFS 3 ..................... 41°30′ 68°20′ determines the overall ACL for Atlantic 69°20′ halibut is exceeded, as described in this 4 ..................... 41°30′ paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D)(2), by any amount greater than the management PO 00000 Point Frm 00028 N. Latitude Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 W. Longitude E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM 17NOP1 68404 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 221 / Monday, November 17, 2014 / Proposed Rules ATLANTIC HALIBUT FIXED GEAR AM AREA 1 Point 1 2 3 4 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... N. Latitude 42°30′ 42°30′ 42°20′ 42°20′ W. Longitude 70°20′ 70°15′ 70°15′ 70°20′ ATLANTIC HALIBUT FIXED GEAR AM AREA 2 Point 1 2 3 4 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... N. Latitude 43°10′ 43°10′ 43°00′ 43°00′ W. Longitude 69°40′ 69°30′ 69°30′ 69°40′ mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS (3) Atlantic wolffish. If NMFS determines the overall ACL for Atlantic wolffish is exceeded, as described in this paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D)(3), by any amount greater than the management uncertainty buffer, the applicable AM areas shall be implemented, as specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section. If the overall ACL is exceeded by more than 20 percent, the applicable AM area(s) for the stock shall be implemented, as specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section, and the Council shall revisit the AM in a future action. The AM areas defined below are bounded by the following coordinates, connected in the order listed by rhumb VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 14, 2014 Jkt 235001 lines, unless otherwise noted. Any vessel issued a limited access NE multispecies permit and fishing with trawl gear in the Atlantic Wolffish Trawl Gear AM Area may only use a haddock separator trawl, as specified in § 648.85(a)(3)(iii)(A); a Ruhle trawl, as specified in § 648.85(b)(6)(iv)(J)(3); a rope separator trawl, as specified in § 648.84(e); or any other gear approved consistent with the process defined in § 648.85(b)(6). When in effect, a limited access NE multispecies permitted vessel with gillnet or longline gear may not fish or be in the Atlantic Wolffish Fixed Gear AM Areas, unless transiting with its gear stowed in accordance with § 648.23(b), or such gear was approved consistent with the process defined in § 648.85(b)(6). If a sub-ACL for Atlantic wolffish is allocated to another fishery, consistent with the process specified at § 648.90(a)(4), and AMs are developed for that fishery, the groundfish fishery AM shall only be implemented if the sub-ACL allocated to the groundfish fishery is exceeded (i.e., the sector and common pool catch for a particular stock, including the common pool’s share of any overage of the overall ACL caused by excessive catch by other subcomponents of the fishery pursuant to § 648.90(a)(5) exceeds the common pool sub-ACL) and the overall ACL is also exceeded. PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 ATLANTIC WOLFFISH TRAWL GEAR AM AREA Point 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 N. Latitude ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... 42°30′ 42°30′ 42°15′ 42°15′ 42°10′ 42°10′ 42°20′ 42°20′ W. Longitude 70°30′ 70°15′ 70°15′ 70°10′ 70°10′ 70°20′ 70°20′ 70°30′ ATLANTIC WOLFFISH FIXED GEAR AM AREA 1 Point 1 2 3 4 N. Latitude ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... 41°40′ 41°40′ 41°30′ 41°30′ W. Longitude 69°40′ 69°30′ 69°30′ 69°40′ ATLANTIC WOLFFISH FIXED GEAR AM AREA 2 Point 1 2 3 4 N. Latitude ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... * * * 42°30′ 42°30′ 42°20′ 42°20′ * W. Longitude 70°20′ 70°15′ 70°15′ 70°20′ * [FR Doc. 2014–27084 Filed 11–14–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\17NOP1.SGM 17NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 221 (Monday, November 17, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 68396-68404]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-27084]



[[Page 68396]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 140507412-4914-01]
RIN 0648-BE22


Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Groundfish Fishery; Framework Adjustment 52

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: Framework Adjustment 52 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery 
Management Plan proposes two modifications to the windowpane flounder 
accountability measures. First, the size of the accountability measure 
gear restricted areas could be reduced if NMFS determines that 
improvements in windowpane flounder stock health occurred despite the 
catch limits being exceeded. Second, the duration of the accountability 
measure could be shortened if NMFS determines that an overage of the 
catch limit did not occur the previous fishing year. The proposed 
measures would allow NMFS to implement accountability measures based on 
more current survey and catch data. This proposed action is intended to 
increase fishing opportunities for the groundfish fishery while still 
preventing overfishing.

DATES: Comments must be received by December 2, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2014-0079, 
by any of the following methods:
     Electronic submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0079, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional 
Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic 
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, 
``Comments on the Proposed Rule for Groundfish Framework Adjustment 
52.''
    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.
    Copies of Framework 52, its Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), a draft 
of the environmental assessment (EA) prepared for this action, and the 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared by the New 
England Fishery Management Council are available from Thomas A. Nies, 
Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water 
Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. The IRFA assesses the impacts of 
the proposed measures on small entities, and describes steps taken to 
minimize any significant economic impact on these entities. A summary 
of the IRFA is included in the Classification section of this proposed 
rule. The Framework 52 EA, RIR, and IRFA are also accessible via the 
Internet at www.nefmc.org/nemulti/index.html or 
www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/species/multispecies/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Whitmore, Fishery Policy 
Analyst, phone: 978-281-9182.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Current Windowpane Flounder Accountability Measures

    Framework 47 to the Northeast (NE) Multispecies Fishery Management 
Plan (FMP) modified the accountability measures (AMs) for non-allocated 
stocks to ensure that sector vessels, as well as common pool vessels, 
were held accountable for catch overages (77 FR 26104; May 2, 2012). 
The current AMs for windowpane flounder are small and/or large year-
round gear-restricted areas (Figure 1). The AMs are triggered when the 
total catch of windowpane flounder, in either the Northern or Southern 
stock area, exceeds the allowable limit. When these AMs are in effect, 
bottom-trawl vessels fishing in these areas are required to use 
selective trawl gear that reduces flatfish catch. Approved selective 
trawl gears include the haddock separator trawl, the Ruhle trawl, the 
rope trawl, and any other gears authorized by the Greater Atlantic 
Regional Administrator at the request of the New England Fishery 
Management Council. There are no restrictions on longline or gillnet 
gear because these gear types rarely catch flatfish.
    As currently used, the size of the AM gear-restricted area 
implemented following an overage depends on the degree to which the 
catch limit is exceeded (Figure 1). The size of the AM area is adjusted 
in correlation with the magnitude of the overage or its effects. For 
larger overages, a larger area is used. The larger area is intended to 
reduce catch of windowpane flounder to help correct for the overage and 
thereby also mitigate the effects of the overage on the stock. A 
smaller correction is required for smaller overages; therefore, a 
smaller AM area is applied. In specific application, the overage first 
has to be greater than the management uncertainty buffer (which is 
currently 5 percent) for a windowpane flounder AM to be triggered. If 
the overage is greater than 5 and up to 20 percent of the overall 
annual catch limit, the small AM gear restricted area is triggered. If 
the overage is more than 20 percent of the overall annual catch limit, 
the large AM gear restricted area is triggered. The AMs for the 
groundfish fishery or any other fisheries are triggered only if the 
total catch limit for the stock is exceeded and the fishery specific 
catch limit is also exceeded. Because scallop vessels have a separate 
allocation of southern windowpane flounder, the groundfish southern New 
England AM gear restricted area is only triggered when both the 
groundfish-specific and total-stock catch limits are exceeded (Figure 
2). Because the AMs are meant to restrict catch by common pool and 
sector vessels, sectors cannot request an exemption from an AM. More 
detailed information on Framework 47, including how windowpane flounder 
AMs are implemented, is available at http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/nero/regs/frdoc/12/12MulFW47FR.pdf.
    The final rule implementing Framework 48 (78 FR 26118, May 3, 2013, 
see page 26124) included an allocation of southern windowpane flounder 
to the scallop fishery and some other non-groundfish fisheries starting 
in fishing year 2013. Allocating this stock to other fisheries will 
help ensure that other fisheries are held accountable for their catch 
in the future and that an

[[Page 68397]]

overage by one of these fisheries would not negatively impact another.

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Windowpane Flounder Catch Limits Were Exceeded in Fishing Years 2012 
and 2013

    Table 1 details final catch information for fishing year 2012. The 
northern windowpane flounder catch limit was exceeded by 28 percent, 
while the southern windowpane flounder catch limit was exceeded by 36 
percent. The fishing year 2012 final catch report can be found online 
at: http://www.nero.noaa.gov/ro/fso/reports/Groundfish_Catch_Accounting.htm. Although catch from non-groundfish 
fisheries contributed to the northern windowpane flounder overage, the 
AM applies solely to the groundfish fishery because none of these other 
fisheries received a northern windowpane flounder allocation in fishing 
year 2012. Because the fishing year 2012 overages (in this case, year 
1) were not identified until fishing year 2013 (year 2), the large AM 
gear restricted areas in both Southern New England and on Georges Bank 
were implemented on May 1, 2014, the beginning of the 2014 fishing year 
(year 3).
    Table 2 presents preliminary 2013 catch estimates from March 19, 
2014. Despite not having catch estimates for the sub-components from 
other non-groundfish fisheries, the commercial northern windowpane 
flounder catch estimate (227 mt), which we consider to be reliable 
data, exceeded the allowable biological catch (151 mt) by 50 percent. 
Thus, in addition to the 2014 triggered AM due to overages that 
occurred in fishing year 2012, the fishing year 2013 overage also 
triggered the same 2014 AM. Table 3 presents final fishing year 2013 
catch data for windowpane flounder.
    In order for the southern groundfish fishery AM gear restricted 
area to be triggered, the overall catch limit has to be exceeded, as 
well as groundfish fishery sub-annual catch limit (see Figure 2). 
Currently, catch data indicate that the groundfish fishery slightly 
exceeded its southern windowpane flounder catch limit, but it remains 
unclear if the overall southern windowpane flounder catch limit was 
exceeded.

AMs From Framework 47 Result in Severe Economic Impacts

    Although we approved the windowpane flounder AMs in Framework 47, 
the accompanying environmental assessment estimated the economic costs 
from these AMs to be as much as $15 million. The environmental 
assessment did not foresee the full scope of the costs combined with 
other developments. Following substantial reductions in the 2013 catch 
limits for many key groundfish stocks, groundfish vessels have become 
increasingly more reliant on some flatfish species, particularly winter 
flounder. When the windowpane flounder AMs were developed, Southern New 
England/Mid-Atlantic winter flounder was a non-allocated stock, and, 
therefore, revenue from winter flounder landings was not included in 
the estimated costs. As a

[[Page 68399]]

result, the windowpane flounder AMs we implemented for fishing year 
2014 are likely having an even greater economic impact on the fleet 
than anticipated in Framework 47 due to the loss of the opportunity to 
fish for winter flounder. At the request of some industry members, the 
Council agreed to review the windowpane flounder AMs in Framework 52 to 
see if they could be modified in a way that still corrects the overage 
and mitigates the effects of the overage but also reduces the economic 
costs to industry.

Framework 52

    Framework 52 would modify the current AMs for southern and northern 
windowpane flounder by allowing NMFS to update survey and catch 
information to better determine the most appropriate AM in correlation 
to the conditions of the stock or whether the applicable catch limits 
were exceeded. This action proposes two alternatives that would reduce 
the scope of the northern or southern windowpane flounder AM in size or 
duration if: (1) The stock is rebuilt and it can be determined that 
there were improvements in windowpane flounder stock health; or (2) the 
fishery remains within its catch limits the year following an overage. 
These alternatives are not mutually exclusive and could be used within 
the same fishing year. The proposed measures are intended to help 
prevent overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks while reducing 
economic impacts, using the best scientific information available.

Reducing the Size of the AM After Analyzing Recent Survey and Catch 
Data

    The first alternative proposes to reduce the scope of the AM gear 
restricted area from large to small if the stock is rebuilt and we can 
determine that the windowpane flounder ``biomass criterion'' is greater 
than the catch from the most recent fishing year. In this case, the 
biomass criterion is defined as the 3-year average of the three most 
recent fall scientific surveys multiplied by 75 percent of the 
Fmsy from the most recent stock assessment. Meeting or 
exceeding the biomass criterion indicates that overfishing was likely 
not occurring and that large AM areas could be reduced (i.e., the small 
AM is sufficient to correct and mitigate the effects of the overage 
because the consequences of the overage on the stock are likely less 
than previously assumed). Additional information on the biomass 
criterion can be found in Appendix 1 to the Framework 52 environmental 
assessment.
    This change would incorporate a review of recent survey catch data 
and a comparison of the trends in survey catch to the actual commercial 
catch to ensure that the correct AM gear restricted area is 
implemented. Reviewing additional survey data would allow managers to 
better account for uncertainties in the index-based stock assessment 
model that is used because it relates any potential overage in catch 
back to the biomass and catch trends used in the stock assessment. This 
action does not change the actual gear restricted area AMs developed 
under Framework 47.

Reducing the Duration of an AM In-Season If a Subsequent Overage Does 
Not Occur

    As explained above, AMs must be implemented as soon as possible 
after an overage is identified to correct the operational issue 
causing, or mitigate any biological consequences from, the overage. 
Because stock allocations are divided among several different 
fisheries, as well as other fishery sub-components that do not actually 
receive an allocation (e.g., state-waters fisheries), we need to 
include catch by all groups prior to verifying where the catch limit 
was exceeded. We do not receive year-end data from the other sub-
component fisheries until late summer.
    Once we receive complete catch information in late August/early 
September, an AM implemented in year 3 (following an overage in year 1 
and an underage in year 2) could be shortened by removing it in season, 
consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. This alternative 
would provide an incentive for industry to modify its fishing behavior 
in an effort to reduce the duration of an AM in year 3, and remove the 
need for continuing an AM. Furthermore, because this option does not 
require a pound for pound payback, and because the underage could be 
due to a reduction in stock size, the reduced catch expected to result 
from the delay in removing an implemented AM in year 3 would provide an 
additional buffer against any such remaining management uncertainty.
    This alternative is not applicable if, utilizing reliable catch 
data (such as observed discards), we determine that the current 
season's windowpane flounder catch limit has been exceeded because it 
would be inconsistent for us to remove an AM in-season while planning 
for an AM the following year.

Changes to Fishing Year 2014 AMs

    For northern windowpane flounder, neither of the alternatives would 
apply to the fishing year 2014 Georges Bank gear restricted area AM. 
This is because the northern windowpane flounder stock is considered 
overfished, subject to overfishing, and because catch limits for this 
stock were exceeded in fishing years 2012 and 2013 (Tables 1 and 3). 
However, the southern windowpane flounder stock is not overfished or 
subject to overfishing, is rebuilt, and an initial review shows that 
the biomass criterion is greater than the fishing year 2013 catch. This 
information indicates that we would be able to reduce the size of the 
Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic gear restricted area AM from large to 
small. The southern windowpane flounder catch limit was exceeded in 
fishing year 2013, so the second alternative criterion is not met and 
we would be unable to remove the small AM restricted gear area mid-
season (Table 3).

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[[Page 68401]]

Regulatory Correction Under Regional Administrator Authority

    To clarify the intent of Framework 47, this rule would change the 
regulatory text at 50 CFR 648.90(a)(5)(i)(D)(1), 648.90(a)(5)(i)(D)(2), 
and 648.90(a)(5)(i)(D)(3) to explain that a large AM area is 
implemented if the overage is greater than 20 percent of the overall 
annual catch limit. While reviewing the regulations for windowpane 
flounder AMs, we discovered that the regulations detailing the large 
and small AMs for windowpane flounder, ocean pout, Atlantic halibut, 
and Atlantic wolffish were different than approved in Framework 47. The 
current regulations incorrectly state that a small AM is implemented if 
an overage is between 5 and 20 percent of the overall annual catch 
limit and a large AM is implemented if the overage is 21 percent or 
more. This mistakenly leaves a void between 20 and 21 percent. The 
Council also stipulated in Framework 48 that any overage greater than 
20 percent would require a review of the AM for Atlantic halibut and 
Atlantic wolffish. This provision was not part of Framework 47 when AMs 
were established for windowpane flounder and ocean pout and is being 
removed from Sec.  648.90(a)(5)(i)(D)(1). Lastly, the regulations 
currently state that a large AM area is implemented for both Atlantic 
halibut and Atlantic wolffish if the overall ACL is exceeded by more 
than 20 percent. This is incorrect; there are no large or small AM 
areas for Atlantic halibut and Atlantic wolffish, only specific trawl 
and fixed gear AMs that are applied when there is an overage greater 
than the management uncertainty buffer.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has made a preliminary determination that 
this proposed rule is consistent with Framework 52, other provisions of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. In making the final 
determination, NMFS will consider the data, views, and comments 
received during the public comment period.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866.
    This proposed rule does not contain policies with Federalism or 
``takings'' implications as those terms are defined in E.O. 13132 and 
E.O. 12630, respectively.
    An Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was prepared for 
this proposed rule, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603. The IRFA includes this section of the 
preamble to this rule and analyses contained in Framework 52 and its 
accompanying EA/RIR/IRFA. The IRFA describes the economic impact that 
this proposed rule would have on small entities, if adopted. A 
description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal 
basis for this action are contained in Framework 52, the beginning of 
this section (SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION) in the preamble, and in the 
SUMMARY section of the preamble. A copy of the full analysis is 
available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA 
follows.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which the 
Proposed Rule Would Apply

    A detailed description of the small entities that may be affected 
by this action can be found in the Framework 52 Environmental 
Assessment in section 8.11.2.4. Small entities include ``small 
businesses,'' ``small organizations,'' and ``small governmental 
jurisdictions.'' The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has 
established size standards for all major industry sectors in the U.S. 
including commercial finfish harvesters, commercial shellfish 
harvesters, other commercial marine harvesters, for-hire businesses, 
marinas, seafood dealers/wholesalers, and seafood processors.
    A small business is defined by the SBA as one that is:
     Independently owned and operated;
     not dominant in its field of operation (including its 
affiliates);
     has combined annual receipts not in excess of
    [cir] $20.5 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide for 
commercial finfish harvesting;
    [cir] $5.5 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide for 
commercial shellfish harvesting; or
    [cir] $7.5 million for other marine harvesters, for-hire 
businesses, and other related entities; and
     has fewer than
    [cir] 500 employees in the case of seafood processors; or
    [cir] 100 employees in the case of seafood dealers.

A small organization is any not-for-profit enterprise that is 
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field. 
Small governmental jurisdictions are governments of cities, boroughs, 
counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special 
districts, with population of fewer than 50,000.
    This proposed action impacts commercial fish harvesting entities 
engaged in the Northeast multispecies limited access fishery. A 
description of the specific permits that are likely to be impacted is 
included below for informational purposes, followed by a discussion of 
the impacted businesses (ownership entities), which can include 
multiple vessels and/or permit types. For the purposes of the RFA 
analysis, the ownership entities (not the individual vessels) are 
considered to be the regulated entities.

Limited Access Groundfish Fishery

    The limited access groundfish fisheries are further sub-classified 
as those enrolled in the sector allocation program and those in the 
common pool. Sector vessels are subject to sector-level stock-specific 
allocations that limit catch of allocated groundfish stocks. AMs 
include a prohibition on fishing inside designated areas once 100 
percent of available sector allocation has been caught, as well as 
area-based gear and effort restrictions that are triggered when catch 
of non-allocated groundfish stocks exceeds the catch limits. Common 
pool vessels are subject to various days-at-sea and trip limits 
designed to keep catches below the limits set for vessels enrolled in 
this program. In general, sector-enrolled businesses rely more heavily 
on sales of groundfish species than common pool-enrolled vessels. All 
limited access multispecies permit holders are eligible to participate 
in the sector allocation program; however, many permit holders select 
to remain in the common pool fishery.
    As of May 1, 2014 (beginning of fishing year 2014) there were 1,046 
individual limited access multispecies permits. A total of 613 of these 
permits were enrolled in the sector program and 433 were enrolled in 
the common pool. Of these 1,046 limited access multispecies permits, 
767 had landings of any species and 414 had groundfish landings in 
fishing year 2013.

Ownership Entities

    Individually-permitted vessels may hold permits for several 
fisheries, harvesting species of fish that are regulated by several 
different fishery management plans, even beyond those impacted by the 
proposed action. Furthermore, multiple permitted vessels and/or permits 
may be owned by entities affiliated by stock ownership, common 
management, identity of interest, contractual relationships or economic 
dependency. For the purposes

[[Page 68402]]

of this analysis, ownership entities are defined as those entities with 
common ownership personnel as listed on permit application 
documentation. Only permits with identical ownership personnel are 
categorized as an ownership entity. For example, if five permits have 
the same seven personnel listed as co-owners on their application 
paperwork, those seven personnel form one ownership entity, covering 
those five permits. If one or several of the seven owners also own 
additional vessels, with sub-sets of the original seven personnel or 
with new co-owners, those ownership arrangements are deemed to be 
separate ownership entities for the purpose of this analysis.
    Ownership entities are identified on June 1st of each year based on 
the list of all permit numbers, for the most recent complete calendar 
year, that have applied for any type of Northeast Federal fishing 
permit. The current ownership data set is based on calendar year 2013 
permits and contains average gross sales associated with those permits 
for calendar years 2011 through 2013.
    Matching the potentially impacted permits described above (fishing 
year 2014) to the calendar year 2013 ownership data results in 868 
distinct ownership entities. Of these, 855 are categorized as small and 
13 are categorized as large entities per the SBA guidelines.
    These totals may mask some diversity among the entities. Many, if 
not most, of these ownership entities maintain diversified harvest 
portfolios, obtaining gross sales from many fisheries and not dependent 
on any one. However, not all are equally diversified. Those that depend 
most heavily on sales from harvesting species impacted directly by the 
proposed action are most likely to be affected. By defining dependence 
as deriving greater than 50 percent of gross sales from sales of 
regulated species associated with a specific fishery, we are able to 
identify those ownership groups most likely to be impacted by the 
proposed regulations. Using this threshold, we find that 114 entities 
are groundfish-dependent, all of which are small and all of which are 
finfish commercial harvesting businesses. Of the 114 groundfish-
dependent entities, 102 have some level of participation in the sector 
program and 12 operate exclusively in the common pool.

Economic Impacts of the Proposed Measures and Alternatives

    The proposed action is expected to have generally positive economic 
impacts, and we do not expect the action to put small entities at a 
competitive disadvantage relative to large entities. Impacts on 
profitability from the proposed action are likely to positively affect 
both small and large entities in a broadly similar manner.
    This IRFA analysis is intended to analyze the impacts of the 
alternatives described in section 4.1 of Framework 52 on small 
entities. The proposed action alters the criteria for triggering AMs 
for windowpane flounder, and may result in either smaller AM gear 
restricted areas (i.e., duration or size) in the Southern New England 
or Georges Bank gear restricted areas or an increased likelihood that a 
triggered AM in either/both areas could be removed in-season once catch 
information from the previous year is made available. These provisions 
are expected to positively impact profitability of small entities 
regulated by this action.
    The proposed action is expected to result in either a lower 
probability of an AM remaining in place for a given year or a smaller 
gear restricted area (i.e., duration or time). In all cases, the 
proposed action is expected to have positive economic impacts to small 
groundfish-dependent entities relative to the no action alternative. A 
more detailed discussion of the expected economic and social impacts 
can be found in sections 7.4 and 7.5 of the Framework 52 environmental 
assessment.

Description of the Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements of the Proposed Rule

    The Framework 52 proposed rule is not expected to create any 
additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: November 6, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed 
to be amended as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:

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

0
a. In Sec.  648.90, revise paragraphs (a)(5)(i)(D)(1), (a)(5)(i)(D)(2) 
and (a)(5)(i)(D)(3), add paragraphs (a)(5)(i)(D)(1)(i) and 
(a)(5)(i)(D)(1)(ii), to read as follows:


Sec.  648.90  NE multispecies assessment, framework procedures and 
specifications, and flexible area action system.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (D) * * *
    (1) Windowpane flounder and ocean pout--Unless otherwise specified 
in paragraphs (a)(5)(i)(D)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, if NMFS 
determines the total catch exceeds the overall ACL for either stock of 
windowpane flounder or ocean pout, as described in this paragraph 
(a)(5)(i)(D)(1), by any amount greater than the management uncertainty 
buffer up to 20 percent greater than the overall ACL, the applicable 
small AM area for the stock shall be implemented, as specified in 
paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section consistent with the 
Administrative Procedure Act. If the overall ACL is exceeded by more 
than 20 percent, the applicable large AM area(s) for the stock shall be 
implemented, as specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section 
consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. The AM areas defined 
below are bounded by the following coordinates, connected in the order 
listed by rhumb lines, unless otherwise noted. Vessels fishing with 
trawl gear in these areas may only use a haddock separator trawl, as 
specified in Sec.  648.85(a)(3)(iii)(A); a Ruhle trawl, as specified in 
Sec.  648.85(b)(6)(iv)(J)(3); a rope separator trawl, as specified in 
Sec.  648.84(e); or any other gear approved consistent with the process 
defined in Sec.  648.85(b)(6). If an overage of the overall ACL for 
southern windowpane flounder is as a result of an overage of the sub-
ACL allocated to exempted fisheries pursuant to paragraph 
(a)(4)(iii)(F) of this section, the applicable AM area(s) shall be in 
effect for any trawl vessel fishing with a codend mesh size of greater 
than or equal to 5 inches (12.7 cm) in other, non-specified sub-
components of the fishery, including, but not limited to, exempted 
fisheries that occur in Federal waters and fisheries harvesting 
exempted species specified in Sec.  648.80(b)(3). If an overage of the 
overall ACL for southern windowpane flounder is as a result of an 
overage of the sub-ACL allocated to the groundfish fishery pursuant to 
paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(H)(2) of this section, the applicable AM area(s) 
shall be in effect for any limited access NE multispecies permitted 
vessel fishing on a NE multispecies DAS or sector trip. If an overage 
of the overall ACL for southern windowpane flounder is as a result of 
overages of both the groundfish fishery

[[Page 68403]]

and exempted fishery sub-ACLs, the applicable AM area(s) shall be in 
effect for both the groundfish fishery and exempted fisheries. If a 
sub-ACL for either stock of windowpane flounder or ocean pout is 
allocated to another fishery, consistent with the process specified at 
Sec.  648.90(a)(4), and there are AMs for that fishery, the groundfish 
fishery AM shall only be implemented if the sub-ACL allocated to the 
groundfish fishery is exceeded (i.e., the sector and common pool catch 
for a particular stock, including the common pool's share of any 
overage of the overall ACL caused by excessive catch by other sub-
components of the fishery pursuant to Sec.  648.90(a)(5) exceeds the 
common pool sub-ACL) and the overall ACL is also exceeded.

        Northern Windowpane Flounder and Ocean Pout Small AM Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  41[deg]10'           67[deg]40'
2..............................  41[deg]10'           67[deg]20'
3..............................  41[deg]00'           67[deg]20'
4..............................  41[deg]00'           67[deg]00'
5..............................  40[deg]50'           67[deg]00'
6..............................  40[deg]50'           67[deg]40'
1..............................  41[deg]10'           67[deg]40'
------------------------------------------------------------------------


        Northern Windowpane Flounder and Ocean Pout Large AM Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  42[deg]10'           67[deg]40'
2..............................  42[deg]10'           67[deg]20'
3..............................  41[deg]00'           67[deg]20'
4..............................  41[deg]00'           67[deg]00'
5..............................  40[deg]50'           67[deg]00'
6..............................  40[deg]50'           67[deg]40'
1..............................  42[deg]10'           67[deg]40'
------------------------------------------------------------------------


        Southern Windowpane Flounder and Ocean Pout Small AM Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  41[deg]10'           71[deg]30'
2..............................  41[deg]10'           71[deg]20'
3..............................  40[deg]50'           71[deg]20'
4..............................  40[deg]50'           71[deg]30'
1..............................  41[deg]10'           71[deg]30'
------------------------------------------------------------------------


       Southern Windowpane Flounder and Ocean Pout Small AM Area 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  41[deg]10'           71[deg]50'
2..............................  41[deg]10'           71[deg]10'
3..............................  41[deg]00'           71[deg]10'
4..............................  41[deg]00'           71[deg]20'
5..............................  40[deg]50'           71[deg]20'
6..............................  40[deg]50'           71[deg]50'
1..............................  41[deg]10'           71[deg]50'
------------------------------------------------------------------------


       Southern Windowpane Flounder and Ocean Pout Large AM Area 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  (\1\)                73[deg]30'
2..............................  40[deg]30'           73[deg]30'
3..............................  40[deg]30'           73[deg]50'
4..............................  40[deg]20'           73[deg]50'
5..............................  40[deg]20'           (\2\)
6..............................  (\3\)                73[deg]58.5'
7..............................  (\4\)                73[deg]58.5'
8..............................  40[deg]32.6' \5\     73[deg]56.4' \5\
1..............................  (\1\)                73[deg]30'
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The southernmost coastline of Long Island, NY, at 73[deg]30' W.
  longitude.
\2\ The easternmost coastline of NJ at 40[deg]20' N. latitude, then
  northward along the NJ coastline to Point 6.
\3\ The northernmost coastline of NJ at 73[deg]58.5' W. longitude.
\4\ The southernmost coastline of Long Island, NY at 73[deg]58.5' W.
  longitude.
\5\ The approximate location of the southwest corner of the Rockaway
  Peninsula, Queens, NY, then eastward along the southernmost coastline
  of Long Island, NY (excluding South Oyster Bay), back to Point 1.

    (i) Reducing the size of an AM. If the overall northern or southern 
windowpane flounder ACL is exceeded by more than 20 percent and NMFS 
determines that: The stock is rebuilt, and the biomass criterion, as 
defined by the Council, is greater than the most recent fishing year's 
catch, then only the respective small AM may be implemented as 
described in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D)(1) of this section consistent with 
the Administrative Procedure Act.
    (ii) Reducing the duration of an AM. If the northern or southern 
windowpane flounder AM is implemented in the third fishing year 
following the year of an overage, as described in paragraph 
(a)(5)(i)(D) of this section, and NMFS subsequently determines that the 
applicable windowpane flounder ACL was not exceeded by any amount the 
year immediately after which the overage occurred (i.e., the second 
year), on or after September 1, the AM can be removed once year-end 
data are complete. This reduced duration does not apply if NMFS 
determines during year 3 that a year 3 overage of the applicable 
windowpane flounder ACL has occurred.
    (2) Atlantic halibut. If NMFS determines the overall ACL for 
Atlantic halibut is exceeded, as described in this paragraph 
(a)(5)(i)(D)(2), by any amount greater than the management uncertainty 
buffer, the applicable AM areas shall be implemented and any vessel 
issued a NE multispecies permit or a limited access monkfish permit and 
fishing under the monkfish Category C or D permit provisions, may not 
fish for, possess, or land Atlantic halibut for the fishing year in 
which the AM is implemented, as specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of 
this section. If the overall ACL is exceeded by more than 20 percent, 
the applicable AM area(s) for the stock shall be implemented, as 
specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section, and the Council 
shall revisit the AM in a future action. The AM areas defined below are 
bounded by the following coordinates, connected in the order listed by 
rhumb lines, unless otherwise noted. Any vessel issued a limited access 
NE multispecies permit and fishing with trawl gear in the Atlantic 
Halibut Trawl Gear AM Area may only use a haddock separator trawl, as 
specified in Sec.  648.85(a)(3)(iii)(A); a Ruhle trawl, as specified in 
Sec.  648.85(b)(6)(iv)(J)(3); a rope separator trawl, as specified in 
Sec.  648.84(e); or any other gear approved consistent with the process 
defined in Sec.  648.85(b)(6). When in effect, a limited access NE 
multispecies permitted vessel with gillnet or longline gear may not 
fish or be in the Atlantic Halibut Fixed Gear AM Areas, unless 
transiting with its gear stowed in accordance with Sec.  648.23(b), or 
such gear was approved consistent with the process defined in Sec.  
648.85(b)(6). If a sub-ACL for Atlantic halibut is allocated to another 
fishery, consistent with the process specified at Sec.  648.90(a)(4), 
and there are AMs for that fishery, the groundfish fishery AM shall 
only be implemented if the sub-ACL allocated to the groundfish fishery 
is exceeded (i.e., the sector and common pool catch for a particular 
stock, including the common pool's share of any overage of the overall 
ACL caused by excessive catch by other sub-components of the fishery 
pursuant to Sec.  648.90(a)(5) exceeds the common pool sub-ACL) and the 
overall ACL is also exceeded.

                   Atlantic Halibut Trawl Gear AM Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  42[deg]00'           69[deg]20'
2..............................  42[deg]00'           68[deg]20'
3..............................  41[deg]30'           68[deg]20'
4..............................  41[deg]30'           69[deg]20'
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 68404]]


                  Atlantic Halibut Fixed Gear AM Area 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  42[deg]30'           70[deg]20'
2..............................  42[deg]30'           70[deg]15'
3..............................  42[deg]20'           70[deg]15'
4..............................  42[deg]20'           70[deg]20'
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                  Atlantic Halibut Fixed Gear AM Area 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  43[deg]10'           69[deg]40'
2..............................  43[deg]10'           69[deg]30'
3..............................  43[deg]00'           69[deg]30'
4..............................  43[deg]00'           69[deg]40'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) Atlantic wolffish. If NMFS determines the overall ACL for 
Atlantic wolffish is exceeded, as described in this paragraph 
(a)(5)(i)(D)(3), by any amount greater than the management uncertainty 
buffer, the applicable AM areas shall be implemented, as specified in 
paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section. If the overall ACL is exceeded 
by more than 20 percent, the applicable AM area(s) for the stock shall 
be implemented, as specified in paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D) of this section, 
and the Council shall revisit the AM in a future action. The AM areas 
defined below are bounded by the following coordinates, connected in 
the order listed by rhumb lines, unless otherwise noted. Any vessel 
issued a limited access NE multispecies permit and fishing with trawl 
gear in the Atlantic Wolffish Trawl Gear AM Area may only use a haddock 
separator trawl, as specified in Sec.  648.85(a)(3)(iii)(A); a Ruhle 
trawl, as specified in Sec.  648.85(b)(6)(iv)(J)(3); a rope separator 
trawl, as specified in Sec.  648.84(e); or any other gear approved 
consistent with the process defined in Sec.  648.85(b)(6). When in 
effect, a limited access NE multispecies permitted vessel with gillnet 
or longline gear may not fish or be in the Atlantic Wolffish Fixed Gear 
AM Areas, unless transiting with its gear stowed in accordance with 
Sec.  648.23(b), or such gear was approved consistent with the process 
defined in Sec.  648.85(b)(6). If a sub-ACL for Atlantic wolffish is 
allocated to another fishery, consistent with the process specified at 
Sec.  648.90(a)(4), and AMs are developed for that fishery, the 
groundfish fishery AM shall only be implemented if the sub-ACL 
allocated to the groundfish fishery is exceeded (i.e., the sector and 
common pool catch for a particular stock, including the common pool's 
share of any overage of the overall ACL caused by excessive catch by 
other sub-components of the fishery pursuant to Sec.  648.90(a)(5) 
exceeds the common pool sub-ACL) and the overall ACL is also exceeded.

                  Atlantic Wolffish Trawl Gear AM Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  42[deg]30'           70[deg]30'
2..............................  42[deg]30'           70[deg]15'
3..............................  42[deg]15'           70[deg]15'
4..............................  42[deg]15'           70[deg]10'
5..............................  42[deg]10'           70[deg]10'
6..............................  42[deg]10'           70[deg]20'
7..............................  42[deg]20'           70[deg]20'
8..............................  42[deg]20'           70[deg]30'
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                 Atlantic Wolffish Fixed Gear AM Area 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  41[deg]40'           69[deg]40'
2..............................  41[deg]40'           69[deg]30'
3..............................  41[deg]30'           69[deg]30'
4..............................  41[deg]30'           69[deg]40'
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                 Atlantic Wolffish Fixed Gear AM Area 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  42[deg]30'           70[deg]20'
2..............................  42[deg]30'           70[deg]15'
3..............................  42[deg]20'           70[deg]15'
4..............................  42[deg]20'           70[deg]20'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2014-27084 Filed 11-14-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P