Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Small Vessel Exemptions; License Limitation Program, 7816-7817 [2015-02890]

Download as PDF 7816 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 RIN 0648–XD682 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Small Vessel Exemptions; License Limitation Program National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notification of availability of fishery management plan amendments; request for comments. AGENCY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) Amendment 108 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), Amendment 100 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP), and Amendment 46 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP). If approved, these amendments would correct text omissions in the BSAI FMP, the GOA FMP, and the Crab FMP. These amendments would make the fishery management plan (FMP) texts that establish vessel length limits for small vessels exempted from the license limitation program (LLP) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) groundfish and king and Tanner crab fisheries, and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish fisheries, consistent with the original intent of the LLP, current operations in the fisheries, and Federal regulations. This action would promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMPs, and other applicable laws. DATES: Submit comments on Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP on or before April 13, 2015. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2015–0161, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015- Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 0161, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or 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), 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). Electronic copies of Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP, and the analysis prepared for this action are available from the Alaska Region NMFS Web site at http:// www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/regs/ summary.htm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Seanbob Kelly, 907–271–5195. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that each regional fishery management council submit proposed amendments to a fishery management plan to the Secretary for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that, upon receiving an FMP amendment, the Secretary immediately publish in the Federal Register a notice that the amendment is available for public review and comment. This notice announces that proposed Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP are available for public review and comment. No changes to Federal regulations would be necessary to implement the proposed amendments. Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP were adopted by the Council on December 15, 2014. If approved by the Secretary, the FMP amendments would modify the following sections: Amendment 108 would amend Table ES–2 and Section 3.3.1 of the BSAI FMP; Amendment 100 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 would amend Table ES–2 and Section 3.3.1 of the GOA FMP; and Amendment 46 would amend Section 8.1.4.2 of the Crab FMP. Background In 1998, the Secretary implemented the LLP to place an upper limit on the number of vessels that could be deployed in the crab and groundfish (other than sablefish) fisheries off Alaska. The LLP was originally intended to address concerns that the harvesting fleet had expanded beyond the size necessary to harvest efficiently the optimum yield of the fisheries off Alaska. The LLP established several exemptions to the requirement that a vessel be named on an LLP license, including an exemption for small vessels. The LLP was established by Amendment 39 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 41 to the GOA FMP, and Amendment 5 to the Crab FMP, which were implemented by NMFS on October 1, 1998 (63 FR 52642). Additional information about the LLP can be found in the preamble to the proposed rule for these amendments (62 FR 43866, August 15, 1997). The Council and the Secretary intended that the LLP would retain the vessel length limits that were established for the small vessel exemption from the vessel moratorium program (60 FR 40763; August 10, 1995) as an exemption from the LLP; however, the vessel length limits for the small vessel exemption that were included in the FMPs do not mirror the vessel moratorium small vessel exemption. The current FMP texts do not carry out the Council’s and the Secretary’s intent that vessels that were exempted from the moratorium also would be exempt from the LLP and are not consistent with the Federal regulations that implement the LLP. The FMP text authorizing the LLP modified the GOA FMP text from ‘‘vessels 26 ft or less LOA’’ to ‘‘vessels less than 26 ft LOA,’’ modified the Crab FMP text from ‘‘vessels 32 ft or less LOA’’ to vessels ‘‘< 32’’’ and modified the BSAI FMP text from ‘‘vessels 32 ft or less LOA’’ to ‘‘vessels less than 32 ft LOA’’. The revised FMP texts omit vessels that are exactly 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA or 32 ft (9.8 m) LOA. The omitted text is necessary for consistency with Federal regulations that exempt from the LLP vessels that do ‘‘not exceed 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA’’ in the GOA and vessels that do ‘‘not exceed 32 ft (9.8 m) LOA’’ in the BSAI; the Crab FMP only applies to the BSAI. Additional information can be found in the analysis prepared for this action (See ADDRESSES). E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules If approved by the Secretary, proposed Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, proposed Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and proposed Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP would correct the omissions in each FMP by adding ‘‘or equal to’’ to the length limits. Specifically, these FMP amendments would add vessels 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA in the GOA and vessels 32 ft (9.8 m) LOA in the BSAI, including BSAI Crab, to the LLP exemption. Since the implementation of the LLP, fisheries in the BSAI and GOA have been conducted according to Federal regulations and not the FMP texts; therefore, there would be no impact to license holders and no change to fishing behavior or fisheries management in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska if these amendments are approved. These amendments are necessary to make the three FMPs consistent with the original intent of the Council and Secretary, current operations in the fisheries, and Federal regulations. The inconsistencies among FMP text, regulatory text, and Council and Secretarial intent were not identified until August 2014. Public comments are being solicited on the proposed FMP amendments and must be received by the end of the comment period (see DATES) on Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on each amendment. All comments received by the end of the comment period will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on the amendments. To be considered, comments must be received, not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted, by the end of the comment period. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 6, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–02890 Filed 2–11–15; 8:45 am] Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 680 [Docket No. 130820737–5111–01] RIN 0648–BD61 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program; Amendment 45; Pacific Cod Sideboard Allocations in the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 45 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP). If approved, Amendment 45 would establish, for a limited period of time, a process for NMFS to permanently remove Pacific cod catch limits, known as sideboard limits, which are applicable to certain hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Regulatory Areas. This action would authorize NMFS to remove these Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central and/or Western GOA if all eligible participants in the hook-andline catcher/processor sector in a regulatory area sign and submit a request that NMFS remove the sideboard limit. Each eligible participant would be required to submit the request to NMFS within 1 year of the date of publication of a final rule implementing Amendment 45, if it is approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). This action is necessary to provide participants in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/ processor sectors with an opportunity to cooperatively coordinate harvests of Pacific cod through private arrangement to the participants’ mutual benefit, which would remove the need for sideboard limits in these regulatory areas. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Crab FMP, and other applicable laws. DATES: Submit comments on or before March 16, 2015. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7817 You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-0133, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20130133, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or 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), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Electronic copies of the following documents may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov: • The Regulatory Impact Review/ Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RIR/IRFA), and the Categorical Exclusion prepared for this action (collectively referred to as the ‘‘Analysis’’); • The Harvest Specifications Supplemental Information Report (SIR) prepared for the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications; • The Final Environmental Assessment/Final RIR/Initial IRFA for Amendment 83 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) Allocation of Pacific cod Among Sectors in the Western and Central GOA; and • The Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (Harvest Specifications EIS). Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this action may be submitted to NMFS at the above address and by email to OIRA_ ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 29 (Thursday, February 12, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7816-7817]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-02890]



[[Page 7816]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

RIN 0648-XD682


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Small Vessel 
Exemptions; License Limitation Program

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

ACTION: Notification of availability of fishery management plan 
amendments; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has 
submitted to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) Amendment 108 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian 
Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), Amendment 100 to the Fishery 
Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP), and 
Amendment 46 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian 
Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP). If approved, these amendments 
would correct text omissions in the BSAI FMP, the GOA FMP, and the Crab 
FMP. These amendments would make the fishery management plan (FMP) 
texts that establish vessel length limits for small vessels exempted 
from the license limitation program (LLP) in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) groundfish and king and Tanner 
crab fisheries, and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish fisheries, 
consistent with the original intent of the LLP, current operations in 
the fisheries, and Federal regulations. This action would promote the 
goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act, the FMPs, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Submit comments on Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 
to the GOA FMP, and Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP on or before April 13, 
2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2015-0161, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0161, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or 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), 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).
    Electronic copies of Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 
to the GOA FMP, Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP, and the analysis prepared 
for this action are available from the Alaska Region NMFS Web site at 
http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/regs/summary.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Seanbob Kelly, 907-271-5195.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that each regional 
fishery management council submit proposed amendments to a fishery 
management plan to the Secretary for review and approval, disapproval, 
or partial approval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that, upon 
receiving an FMP amendment, the Secretary immediately publish in the 
Federal Register a notice that the amendment is available for public 
review and comment. This notice announces that proposed Amendment 108 
to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and Amendment 46 to the 
Crab FMP are available for public review and comment. No changes to 
Federal regulations would be necessary to implement the proposed 
amendments.
    Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and 
Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP were adopted by the Council on December 
15, 2014. If approved by the Secretary, the FMP amendments would modify 
the following sections: Amendment 108 would amend Table ES-2 and 
Section 3.3.1 of the BSAI FMP; Amendment 100 would amend Table ES-2 and 
Section 3.3.1 of the GOA FMP; and Amendment 46 would amend Section 
8.1.4.2 of the Crab FMP.

Background

    In 1998, the Secretary implemented the LLP to place an upper limit 
on the number of vessels that could be deployed in the crab and 
groundfish (other than sablefish) fisheries off Alaska. The LLP was 
originally intended to address concerns that the harvesting fleet had 
expanded beyond the size necessary to harvest efficiently the optimum 
yield of the fisheries off Alaska. The LLP established several 
exemptions to the requirement that a vessel be named on an LLP license, 
including an exemption for small vessels. The LLP was established by 
Amendment 39 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 41 to the GOA FMP, and 
Amendment 5 to the Crab FMP, which were implemented by NMFS on October 
1, 1998 (63 FR 52642). Additional information about the LLP can be 
found in the preamble to the proposed rule for these amendments (62 FR 
43866, August 15, 1997).
    The Council and the Secretary intended that the LLP would retain 
the vessel length limits that were established for the small vessel 
exemption from the vessel moratorium program (60 FR 40763; August 10, 
1995) as an exemption from the LLP; however, the vessel length limits 
for the small vessel exemption that were included in the FMPs do not 
mirror the vessel moratorium small vessel exemption. The current FMP 
texts do not carry out the Council's and the Secretary's intent that 
vessels that were exempted from the moratorium also would be exempt 
from the LLP and are not consistent with the Federal regulations that 
implement the LLP. The FMP text authorizing the LLP modified the GOA 
FMP text from ``vessels 26 ft or less LOA'' to ``vessels less than 26 
ft LOA,'' modified the Crab FMP text from ``vessels 32 ft or less LOA'' 
to vessels ``< 32''' and modified the BSAI FMP text from ``vessels 32 
ft or less LOA'' to ``vessels less than 32 ft LOA''. The revised FMP 
texts omit vessels that are exactly 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA or 32 ft (9.8 m) 
LOA. The omitted text is necessary for consistency with Federal 
regulations that exempt from the LLP vessels that do ``not exceed 26 ft 
(7.9 m) LOA'' in the GOA and vessels that do ``not exceed 32 ft (9.8 m) 
LOA'' in the BSAI; the Crab FMP only applies to the BSAI. Additional 
information can be found in the analysis prepared for this action (See 
ADDRESSES).

[[Page 7817]]

    If approved by the Secretary, proposed Amendment 108 to the BSAI 
FMP, proposed Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and proposed Amendment 46 
to the Crab FMP would correct the omissions in each FMP by adding ``or 
equal to'' to the length limits. Specifically, these FMP amendments 
would add vessels 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA in the GOA and vessels 32 ft (9.8 
m) LOA in the BSAI, including BSAI Crab, to the LLP exemption. Since 
the implementation of the LLP, fisheries in the BSAI and GOA have been 
conducted according to Federal regulations and not the FMP texts; 
therefore, there would be no impact to license holders and no change to 
fishing behavior or fisheries management in the U.S. Exclusive Economic 
Zone off Alaska if these amendments are approved. These amendments are 
necessary to make the three FMPs consistent with the original intent of 
the Council and Secretary, current operations in the fisheries, and 
Federal regulations. The inconsistencies among FMP text, regulatory 
text, and Council and Secretarial intent were not identified until 
August 2014.
    Public comments are being solicited on the proposed FMP amendments 
and must be received by the end of the comment period (see DATES) on 
Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and 
Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP to be considered in the approval/
disapproval decision on each amendment. All comments received by the 
end of the comment period will be considered in the approval/
disapproval decision on the amendments. To be considered, comments must 
be received, not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted, by the end 
of the comment period.

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

    Dated: February 6, 2015.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-02890 Filed 2-11-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P