Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North and South Atlantic 2015 Commercial Swordfish Quotas, 8838-8842 [2015-03432]

Download as PDF 8838 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 33 / Thursday, February 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules Air pollution control, Confidential business information, Labeling, Motor vehicle pollution, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Warranties. 40 CFR Part 1043 Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Imports, Incorporation by reference, Vessels, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. 40 CFR Parts 1051 and 1054 Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Confidential business information, Imports, Labeling, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Warranties. 40 CFR Part 1060 Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Confidential business information, Imports, Incorporation by reference, Labeling, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Warranties. 40 CFR Parts 1065 and 1066 Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Research. Dated: February 2, 2015. Gina McCarthy, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2015–02845 Filed 2–18–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 63 [EPA–R06–OAR–2007–1205; FRL 9923–04– Region 6] National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants; Delegation of Authority to Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board (ABCAQCB) submitted updated regulations for receiving delegation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority for implementation and enforcement of New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:12 Feb 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 all sources (both part 70 and non-part 70 sources). The delegation of authority under this action applies only to sources located in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, and does not extend to sources located in Indian Country. EPA is providing notice that it is updating the delegation of certain NSPS to ABCAQCB, and is taking direct final action to approve the delegation of certain NESHAPs to ABCAQCB. Written comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before March 23, 2015. DATES: Comments may be mailed to Mr. Rick Barrett, Air Permits Section (6PD–R), Environmental Protection Agency, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75202–2733. Comments may also be submitted electronically or through hand delivery/courier by following the detailed instructions in the Addresses section of the direct final rule located in the rules section of this Federal Register. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Rick Barrett, (214) 665–7227; email: barrett.richard@epa.gov. In the final rules section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving ABCAQCB’s request for delegation of authority to implement and enforce certain NSPS and NESHAP for all sources (both part 70 and non-part 70 sources). ABCAQCB has adopted certain NSPS and NESHAP by reference into ABCAQCB’s regulations. In addition, EPA is waiving its notification requirements so sources will only need to send notifications and reports to ABCAQCB. The EPA is taking direct final action without prior proposal because EPA views this as a noncontroversial action and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for this approval is set forth in the preamble to the direct final rule. If no relevant adverse comments are received in response to this action, no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives relevant adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn, and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time. If EPA receives relevant adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of the rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register. Dated: January 28, 2015. Samuel Coleman, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 6. [FR Doc. 2015–03483 Filed 2–18–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150116050–5123–01] RIN 0648–XD726 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North and South Atlantic 2015 Commercial Swordfish Quotas National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: This proposed rule would adjust the 2015 fishing season quotas for North and South Atlantic swordfish based upon 2014 commercial quota underharvests and international quota transfers consistent with International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendations 13–02 and 13–03. This proposed rule would apply to commercial and recreational fishing for swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. This action would implement ICCAT recommendations, consistent with the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and would further domestic management objectives under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Written comments must be received by March 23, 2015. An operator-assisted, public conference call and webinar will be held on March 3, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EST. ADDRESSES: The conference call-in phone number is 1–888–972–6893; participant pass code is 2759824. Participants are strongly encouraged to log/dial in 15 minutes prior to the meeting. NMFS will show a brief presentation via webinar followed by public comment. To join the webinar go to: https://noaaevents2.webex.com/ noaaevents2/onstage/g.php?d= 995250567&t=a, enter your name and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19FEP1.SGM 19FEP1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 33 / Thursday, February 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules email address, and click the ‘‘JOIN’’ button. Participants who have not used WebEx before will be prompted to download and run a plug-in program that will enable them to view the webinar. You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA–NMFS– 2015–0023, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA–NMFS-20150023, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Margo Schulze-Haugen, NMFS/SF1, 1315 East-West Highway, National Marine Fisheries Service, SSMC3, Silver Spring, MD 20910. 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). The call-in information for the public hearing is phone number 1–888–972– 6893; participant pass code is 2759824. We will also provide a brief presentation via webinar. Participants can join the webinar at https:// noaaevents2.webex.com/noaaevents2/ onstage/g.php?d=995250567&t=a. Enter your name and email address, and click the ‘‘JOIN’’ button. Participants that have not used WebEx before will be prompted to download and run a plugin program that will enable them to view the webinar. Presentation materials and other supporting information will be posted on the HMS Web site at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ sfa/hms. Copies of the supporting documents— including the 2012 Environmental Assessment (EA), Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) for North Atlantic swordfish; the 2007 EA, RIR, and FRFA for South Atlantic swordfish; and the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan and associated documents—are available from the HMS VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:12 Feb 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 Management Division Web site at http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ or by contacting Steve Durkee by phone at 202–670–6637. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Durkee by phone at 202–670– 6637. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The U.S. Atlantic swordfish fishery is managed under the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 635 are issued under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., and ATCA, 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. ATCA authorizes the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to promulgate regulations as may be necessary and appropriate to implement ICCAT recommendations. North Atlantic Swordfish Quota At the 2013 ICCAT annual meeting, Recommendation 13–02 was adopted, maintaining the North Atlantic swordfish total allowable catch (TAC) of 10,301 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (13,700 mt whole weight (ww)) through 2016. Of this TAC, the United States’ baseline quota is 2,937.6 mt dw (3,907 mt ww) per year. ICCAT Recommendation 13–02 also includes an 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) annual quota transfer from the United States to Mauritania and limits allowable 2014 underharvest carryover to 15 percent of a contracting party’s baseline quota. ICCAT capped the allowable underharvest at 25 percent of a contracting party’s baseline quota allocation until the 2013 recommendation reduced it to 15 percent. Therefore, the United States may carry over a maximum of 440.6 mt dw (586.0 mt ww) of underharvest from 2014 to 2015. This proposed rule would adjust the U.S. baseline quota for the 2015 fishing year to account for the annual quota transfer to Mauritania and the 2014 underharvest. The preliminary estimate of North Atlantic swordfish underharvest for 2014 was 2,469.3 mt dw as of December 31, 2014; therefore, NMFS is proposing to carry forward 440.6 mt dw, the maximum carryover allowed per Recommendation 13–02. The 2,937.6 mt dw baseline quota would be reduced by the 18.8 mt dw annual quota transfer to Mauritania and increased by the underharvest carryover of 440.6 mt dw, resulting in a proposed adjusted North Atlantic swordfish quota for the 2015 fishing year of 3,359.4 mt dw (2,937.6¥18.8 + 440.6 = 3,359.4 mt dw). PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 8839 From that proposed adjusted quota, 50 mt dw would be allocated to the reserve category for inseason adjustments and research, and 300 mt dw would be allocated to the incidental category, which includes recreational landings and landings by incidental swordfish permit holders, per § 635.27(c)(1)(i). This would result in an allocation of 3,009.4 mt dw (3,359.4¥50¥300 = 3,009.4 mt dw) for the directed category, which would be split equally between two seasons in 2015 (January through June, and July through December) (Table 1). The preliminary landings used to calculate the proposed adjusted quota for North Atlantic swordfish are based on commercial dealer reports and reports by anglers in the HMS NonTournament Recreational Swordfish and Billfish Landings Database and the Recreational Billfish Survey received as of December 31, 2014, and do not include dead discards or late landings reports. The estimates are preliminary and have not yet undergone quality control and assurance procedures. NMFS will adjust the quotas in the final rule based on updated data, including dead discard data, if available. Note that the United States has carried over the full amount of underharvest allowed under ICCAT recommendations for the past several years, and NMFS does not expect fishing activity to vary significantly from these past years. For the final adjusted quota to deviate from the proposed quota, the sum of updated landings data (from late reports) and dead discard estimates would need to reach or exceed 2,028.7 mt dw, which is the difference between the current estimate of the 2014 underharvest (2,469.3 mt dw) and the maximum carryover cap of 440.6 mt dw (2,469.3¥440.6 = 2,028.7 mt dw). In 2013, dead discards were estimated to equal 90.2 mt dw and late reports equaled 143.0 mt dw. Consequently, NMFS does not believe updated data and dead discard estimates would alter the proposed adjusted quota. Thus, while the 2015 proposed North Atlantic swordfish quota is subject to further adjustments and this rule notifies the public of that potential change, NMFS does not expect the final quota to change from the proposed quota. South Atlantic Swordfish Quota In 2013, ICCAT Recommendation 13– 03 established the South Atlantic swordfish TAC at 11,278.2 mt dw (15,000 mt ww) for 2014, 2015, and 2016. Of this, the United States receives 75.2 mt dw (100 mt ww). Recommendation 13–03 limits the amount of South Atlantic swordfish E:\FR\FM\19FEP1.SGM 19FEP1 8840 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 33 / Thursday, February 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules underharvest that can be carried forward, and the United States may carry forward up to 100 percent of its baseline quota (75.2 mt dw). Recommendation 13–03 also included a total of 75.2 mt dw (100 mt ww) of quota transfers from the United States to other countries. These transfers were 37.6 mt dw (50 mt ww) to Namibia, 18.8 ˆ mt dw (25 mt ww) to Cote d’Ivoire, and 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) to Belize. In 2014, U.S. fishermen landed no South Atlantic swordfish according to data available as of December 31, 2014. The adjusted 2014 South Atlantic swordfish quota was 75.1 mt dw due to nominal landings the previous year. Therefore, 75.1 mt dw of underharvest is available to carry over to 2015. NMFS is proposing to carry forward 75.1 mt dw to be added to the 75.2 mt dw baseline quota. The quota would then be reduced by the 75.2 mt dw of annual international quota transfers outlined above, resulting in an adjusted South Atlantic swordfish quota of 75.1 mt dw for the 2015 fishing year. As with the landings and proposed quota for North Atlantic swordfish, the South Atlantic swordfish landings and proposed quota are based on dealer reports received as of December 31, 2014, do not include dead discards or late landings reports, and are preliminary landings estimates that have not yet undergone quality control and assurance procedures. NMFS will adjust the quotas in the final rule based on any updated data, including dead discard data, if available. Thus, the 2015 proposed South Atlantic swordfish quota is subject to further adjustments. However, the United States has only landed South Atlantic swordfish twice in the past several years (0.2 mt dw in April 2010 and 0.1 mt dw in April 2013) and therefore does not anticipate additional landings or discard data that would change the final quota from the proposed quota. TABLE 1—2015 NORTH AND SOUTH ATLANTIC SWORDFISH QUOTAS North Atlantic swordfish quota (mt dw) 2014 Baseline Quota .................................................................................................................................................. International Quota Transfer .............................................................................................................................. 2,937.6 ............. (¥)18.8 (to Mauritania). 1,337.4 ............. (+)734.4 ............ 3,653.2 ............. 2,937.6 (¥)18.8 (to Mauritania) 2,469.3 (+)440.6 3,359.4 3,303.2 ............. 300 ................... 50 ..................... 3,009.4 300 50 Total Underharvest from Previous Year.∂ Underharvest Carryover from Previous Year.∂ Adjusted Quota .................................................................................................................................................. Quota Allocation: Directed Category ....................................................................................................................................... Incidental Category ..................................................................................................................................... Reserve Category ....................................................................................................................................... South Atlantic swordfish quota (mt dw) 2014 Baseline Quota .................................................................................................................................................. International Quota Transfers * .......................................................................................................................... Total Underharvest from Previous Year.∂ Underharvest Carryover from Previous Year.∂ Adjusted quota ................................................................................................................................................... 75.2 .................. (¥)75.2 ............ 75.1 .................. 75.1 .................. 75.1 .................. 2015 2015 75.2 (¥)75.2 75.1 75.1 75.1 ∂ Allowable underharvest carryover is now capped at 15 percent of the baseline quota allocation for the North Atlantic (carryover was previously capped at 25 percent) and 75.2 dw (100 mt ww) for the South Atlantic. The available 2014 underharvest is based on data current as of December 31, 2014; it does not include dead discards, late reports, or changes to the data as a result of quality control adjustments. ˆ * Under Recommendation 13–03, the U.S. transfers 75.2 mt dw (100 mt ww) annually to Namibia (37.6 mt dw, 50 mt ww), Cote d’Ivoire (18.8 mt dw, 25 mt ww), and Belize (18.8 mt dw, 25 mt ww). asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Ecological and Socioeconomic Impacts In the EA, RIR, and FRFA prepared for the 2012 North Atlantic swordfish quota specifications final rule (July 31, 2012; 77 FR 45273), NMFS analyzed the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of harvesting substantially the same amount of annual adjusted quota being proposed here in the 2015 North Atlantic swordfish specifications). Similarly, the impacts of harvesting the amount of annual baseline quota proposed in the 2015 South Atlantic swordfish specifications were analyzed in the EA, RIR, and FRFA that were prepared for the 2007 Swordfish Quota Specification Final Rule (October 5, 2007; 72 FR 56929). The proposed North Atlantic swordfish quota adjustments would result in an adjusted quota for 2015 substantially similar to that analyzed in the 2012 EA, RIR, and FRFA and implemented in 2013 and 2014. The VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:12 Feb 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 quota analyzed in the 2012 EA, RIR, and FRFA was 3,559.2 mt dw and the proposed 2015 adjusted quota is 3,359.4 mt dw; a decrease of 199.8 mt dw. The 2015 North Atlantic swordfish proposed quota is not expected to increase fishing effort, protected species interactions, or environmental effects in a manner not considered in the 2012 EA and would, in fact, cap all three at a level slightly lower than that analyzed in the 2012 EA. The difference between the quota analyzed in the 2012 EA and the 2015 proposed quota is due to two reasons. First, Recommendation 13–02 reduces the underharvest carryover limit beginning in 2015 from 25 percent of the base quota to 15 percent. In the 2012 EA, the analysis took into account North Atlantic Swordfish underharvest carryovers of up to 25 percent. Since the proposed change in the underharvest carryover limit is within this range (i.e., it is less than 25 percent), the quota that PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 would be implemented consistent with the reduced carryover provision has been previously analyzed. Furthermore, once effective, the reduced underharvest carryover limit would result in a lower overall North Atlantic swordfish adjusted quota. For these reasons, the quota that would be analyzed is within the range of the previously-analyzed actions under the existing NEPA analyses, and additional National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis regarding the underharvest carryover limit is not necessary. The second reason the 2012 quota is different than the 2015 proposed adjusted quota is Recommendation 13– 02’s elimination of the 112.8 mt dw quota transfer to Morocco and the introduction of a lower 18.8 mt dw quota transfer to Mauritania. No additional NEPA analysis is needed for the change in international quota transfers because in concert with the E:\FR\FM\19FEP1.SGM 19FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 33 / Thursday, February 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS reduction in the underharvest carryover limit, these changes are not expected to increase fishing effort, affect protected species interactions, or environmental effects beyond those considered in the existing NEPA analyses. Thus, NMFS has determined that the North Atlantic swordfish quota portion of the specifications and impacts to the human environment as a result of the proposed quota adjustments do not require additional NEPA analysis beyond that discussed in the 2012 EA. Similarly, NMFS analyzed in the EA, RIR, and FRFA that were prepared for the 2007 Swordfish Quota Specification Final Rule (October 5, 2007; 72 FR 56929) the impacts of harvesting the same amount of annual baseline quota being proposed here in the 2015 South Atlantic swordfish specifications. The proposed South Atlantic swordfish quota adjustments would not change overall quotas and are not expected to increase fishing effort, protected species interactions, or environmental effects beyond those analyzed in the 2007 EA. While ICCAT SCRS conducted a stock assessment for South Atlantic swordfish in 2013, that assessment did not alter the stock status or TAC from when 2007 EA analyses were conducted and no additional information about the environment has become available that would alter the analyses. Therefore, because there would be no changes to the South Atlantic swordfish management measures in this proposed rule, and no changes to the affected environment or any environmental effects that have not been previously analyzed, NMFS has determined that the South Atlantic swordfish quota portion of the specifications and impacts to the human environment as a result of the proposed quota adjustments do not require additional NEPA analysis beyond that analyzed in the 2007 EA. Request for Comments NMFS is requesting comments on any of the measures or analyses described in this proposed rule. During the comment period, NMFS will hold one conference call and webinar for this proposed rule. The conference call and webinar will be held on March 3, 2015, from 1:00–4:00 p.m. EST. Please see the DATES and ADDRESSES headings for more information. The public is reminded that NMFS expects participants on phone conferences to conduct themselves appropriately. At the beginning of the conference call, a representative of NMFS will explain the ground rules (e.g., all comments are to be directed to the agency on the proposed action; VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:12 Feb 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 attendees will be called to give their comments in the order in which they registered to speak; each attendee will have an equal amount of time to speak; attendees may not interrupt one another; etc.). NMFS representative(s) will structure the meeting so that all attending members of the public will be able to comment, if they so choose, regardless of the controversial nature of the subject(s). Attendees are expected to respect the ground rules, and those that do not may be removed from the conference call. Classification Pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that the proposed rule is consistent with the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This action is exempt from review under E.O. 12866. Previously, NMFS determined that proposed rules to implement the North Atlantic swordfish quota framework (77 FR 25669, May 1, 2012) and South Atlantic swordfish quota framework (75 FR 35432, June 22, 2010) were consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of the approved coastal management program of coastal states on the Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Pursuant to 15 CFR 930.41(a), NMFS provided the Coastal Zone Management Program of each coastal state a 60-day period to review the consistency determination and to advise the Agency of their concurrence. NMFS received concurrence with the consistency determinations from several states and inferred consistency from those states that did not respond within the 60-day time period. This proposed action to establish the 2015 North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas does not change the framework previously consulted upon; therefore, no additional consultation is required. The Chief Council for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Council for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the proposed quota adjustments are the largely the same as in previous years and the United States is not expected to catch its entire quota in 2015. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 8841 As described above, this proposed rule would adjust the 2015 baseline quota for North Atlantic swordfish (January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015) to account for 2014 underharvests, as allowable, and international quota transfers per § 635.27(c)(1)(i) and (c)(3)(ii) based on ICCAT Recommendation 13–02. The United States can carry over 2014 underharvest at a level not to exceed 15 percent of its baseline quota. Additionally, ICCAT Recommendation 13–02 stipulates that the United States transfer 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) of quota to Mauritania. In 2014, U.S. fishermen landed 1,183.9 mt dw of North Atlantic swordfish as of December 31, 2014, leaving 2,469.3 mt dw of quota underharvest. This underharvest amount exceeds the maximum underharvest carryover of 440.6 mt dw; therefore, only the maximum amount of 440.6 mt dw of 2014 underharvest would be carried over and added to the 2015 baseline quota. The quota transfer of 18.8 mt dw to Mauritania would be deducted, leaving a proposed 2015 North Atlantic swordfish adjusted quota of 3,359.4 mt dw (Table 1). This proposed rule would also adjust the 2015 baseline quota for South Atlantic swordfish (January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015) to account for 2014 underharvests and international quota transfers per § 635.27(c)(1)(ii) and (c)(3)(ii) based on ICCAT Recommendation 13–03. The United States can carry over 2014 underharvest at a level not to exceed 100 percent of the baseline quota. Additionally, ICCAT Recommendation 13–03 stipulates that the United States transfer the following quota amounts to other countries: 37.6 mt dw (50 mt ww) to Namibia; 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) to ˆ Cote d’Ivoire; and 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) to Belize. In 2014, U.S. fishermen landed no South Atlantic swordfish according to data available as of December 31, 2014. The adjusted 2014 South Atlantic swordfish quota was 75.1 mt dw due to nominal landings the previous year. Therefore, 75.1 mt dw of underharvest is available to carry over to 2015. NMFS is proposing to carry forward 75.1 mt dw to be added to the 75.2 mt dw baseline quota. The quota would then be reduced by the 75.2 mt dw of annual international quota transfers outlined above, resulting in an adjusted South Atlantic swordfish quota of 75.1 mt dw for the 2015 fishing year. (Table 1). The commercial swordfish fishery is comprised of fishermen who hold one of three swordfish limited access permits (LAPs) (i.e., directed, incidental, or E:\FR\FM\19FEP1.SGM 19FEP1 8842 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 33 / Thursday, February 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS handgear), fishermen who hold a swordfish general commercial permit, fishermen who hold an HMS incidental squid trawl permit, fishermen who hold a commercial Caribbean small boat permit, and the related industries, including processors, bait houses, and equipment suppliers. As of October 2014, there were approximately 183 vessels with a directed swordfish LAP, 66 vessels with an incidental swordfish LAP, 77 vessels with a handgear LAP for swordfish, and 651 vessels that held a swordfish general commercial permit. Additionally, there were approximately 73 HMS incidental squid trawl permit holders, which allow vessels in the Illex squid fishery to retain up to 15 incidentally-caught swordfish while trawling for squid. NMFS considers all participants in the commercial swordfish fishery to be small entities, based on the relevant North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and size standards set by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently established new size criteria for all major industry sectors in the United States, including fish harvesters. On June 12, 2014, the SBA issued an interim final rule revising the small business size standards for several industries effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33467; June 12, 2014). The rule increased the size standard from $19.0 to $20.5 million for finfish fishing, from $5 to $5.5 million for shellfish fishing, and from $7.0 million to $7.5 million for other marine fishing, for-hire businesses, and marinas. NMFS has reviewed the analyses prepared for this action in light of the new size standards. Under the former, lower size standards, all entities subject to this action were considered small entities based on fishing revenues, thus they all would continue to be considered small under the new standards. The new size standards do not affect analyses prepared for this action. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:12 Feb 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 This action is not expected to result in a significant economic impact on the small entities subject to the quota limits. Based on the 2014 average price for swordfish of $4.65/lb (based on 2014 electronic dealer data), the 2015 North and South Atlantic swordfish baseline quotas could result in gross revenues of $30,114,483 (2,937.6 mt dw (6,476,233 lbs dw) * $4.65/lb) and $770,905 (75.2 mt dw (165,786 lbs dw) * $4.65/lb), respectively, if the quotas were fully utilized. Under the adjusted quotas of 3,359.4 mt dw (7,406,133 lbs dw) for North Atlantic swordfish and 75.1 mt dw (165,565 lbs dw) for South Atlantic swordfish, the gross revenues could be $34,438,518 and $769,877, respectively, for fully utilized quotas. Potential revenues per vessel resulting from full utilization of the adjusted quotas could be $32,799 for the North Atlantic swordfish fishery and $4,207 for the South Atlantic swordfish fishery, considering a total of 1,050 swordfish permit holders in the North Atlantic and 183 directed permit holders in the South Atlantic. The North Atlantic estimate, however, represents an average across all permit types, despite permit differences in retention limits, target species, and geographical range. For North Atlantic swordfish, directed swordfish permit holders would likely experience higher than average pervessel ex-vessel revenues due to the use of pelagic longline gear and the lack of a per-trip retention limit, although trip expenses are likely to be relatively high. HMS incidental squid trawl permit holders would likely experience per vessel ex-vessel revenues well below those received by pelagic longline vessels due to the low retention limit per trip (15 swordfish) and because these vessels do not target swordfish and only catch them incidentally. Swordfish general commercial permit holders would likely experience lower than average per-vessel ex-vessel revenues, despite higher ex-vessel PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 prices and lower fishing expenses. Although the proposed 2015 North Atlantic swordfish adjusted quoted is 199.8 mt dw lower than the quota analyzed in the 2012 EA, U.S. fishermen in recent years have not harvested the full North Atlantic swordfish quota. Thus, the 199.8 mt dw change in the total adjusted quota is unlikely to cause any economic impacts since that portion of the quota will likely go unutilized. In the future, if the North Atlantic swordfish fishery achieves full quota utilization, economic impacts will need to be reanalyzed. For South Atlantic swordfish, only directed swordfish permit holders can land these fish; therefore, potential revenue per vessel is higher than the average for these directed swordfish permit holders since the other permit types may not land swordfish. However, U.S. fishermen rarely catch South Atlantic swordfish. Over the past 5 years, 0.3 mt dw of South Atlantic swordfish catch has been reported. The proposed 2015 South Atlantic swordfish adjusted quota is unchanged from that analyzed in the 2007 EA, thus, no new economic impacts are expected. Because the United States’ commercial swordfish fishery is not expected to catch its entire quota in 2015, the adjustments to the quota and management measures proposed in this rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. As a result, no initial regulatory flexibility analysis is required, and none has been prepared. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 13, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–03432 Filed 2–18–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19FEP1.SGM 19FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 33 (Thursday, February 19, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 8838-8842]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-03432]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 150116050-5123-01]
RIN 0648-XD726


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; North and South Atlantic 2015 
Commercial Swordfish Quotas

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This proposed rule would adjust the 2015 fishing season quotas 
for North and South Atlantic swordfish based upon 2014 commercial quota 
underharvests and international quota transfers consistent with 
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) 
Recommendations 13-02 and 13-03. This proposed rule would apply to 
commercial and recreational fishing for swordfish in the Atlantic 
Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. This action 
would implement ICCAT recommendations, consistent with the Atlantic 
Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), and would further domestic management 
objectives under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

DATES: Written comments must be received by March 23, 2015. An 
operator-assisted, public conference call and webinar will be held on 
March 3, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EST.

ADDRESSES: The conference call-in phone number is 1-888-972-6893; 
participant pass code is 2759824. Participants are strongly encouraged 
to log/dial in 15 minutes prior to the meeting. NMFS will show a brief 
presentation via webinar followed by public comment. To join the 
webinar go to: https://noaaevents2.webex.com/noaaevents2/onstage/g.php?d=995250567&t=a, enter your name and

[[Page 8839]]

email address, and click the ``JOIN'' button. Participants who have not 
used WebEx before will be prompted to download and run a plug-in 
program that will enable them to view the webinar.
    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-
2015-0023, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0023, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Margo Schulze-Haugen, 
NMFS/SF1, 1315 East-West Highway, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
SSMC3, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
    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).
    The call-in information for the public hearing is phone number 1-
888-972-6893; participant pass code is 2759824. We will also provide a 
brief presentation via webinar. Participants can join the webinar at 
https://noaaevents2.webex.com/noaaevents2/onstage/g.php?d=995250567&t=a. Enter your name and email address, and click the 
``JOIN'' button. Participants that have not used WebEx before will be 
prompted to download and run a plug-in program that will enable them to 
view the webinar. Presentation materials and other supporting 
information will be posted on the HMS Web site at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms.
    Copies of the supporting documents--including the 2012 
Environmental Assessment (EA), Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and 
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) for North Atlantic 
swordfish; the 2007 EA, RIR, and FRFA for South Atlantic swordfish; and 
the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery 
Management Plan and associated documents--are available from the HMS 
Management Division Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ or by 
contacting Steve Durkee by phone at 202-670-6637.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Durkee by phone at 202-670-6637.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The U.S. Atlantic swordfish fishery is managed under the 2006 
Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan 
(FMP). Implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 635 are issued under the 
authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., and 
ATCA, 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. ATCA authorizes the Secretary of Commerce 
(Secretary) to promulgate regulations as may be necessary and 
appropriate to implement ICCAT recommendations.

North Atlantic Swordfish Quota

    At the 2013 ICCAT annual meeting, Recommendation 13-02 was adopted, 
maintaining the North Atlantic swordfish total allowable catch (TAC) of 
10,301 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (13,700 mt whole weight 
(ww)) through 2016. Of this TAC, the United States' baseline quota is 
2,937.6 mt dw (3,907 mt ww) per year. ICCAT Recommendation 13-02 also 
includes an 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) annual quota transfer from the United 
States to Mauritania and limits allowable 2014 underharvest carryover 
to 15 percent of a contracting party's baseline quota. ICCAT capped the 
allowable underharvest at 25 percent of a contracting party's baseline 
quota allocation until the 2013 recommendation reduced it to 15 
percent. Therefore, the United States may carry over a maximum of 440.6 
mt dw (586.0 mt ww) of underharvest from 2014 to 2015. This proposed 
rule would adjust the U.S. baseline quota for the 2015 fishing year to 
account for the annual quota transfer to Mauritania and the 2014 
underharvest.
    The preliminary estimate of North Atlantic swordfish underharvest 
for 2014 was 2,469.3 mt dw as of December 31, 2014; therefore, NMFS is 
proposing to carry forward 440.6 mt dw, the maximum carryover allowed 
per Recommendation 13-02. The 2,937.6 mt dw baseline quota would be 
reduced by the 18.8 mt dw annual quota transfer to Mauritania and 
increased by the underharvest carryover of 440.6 mt dw, resulting in a 
proposed adjusted North Atlantic swordfish quota for the 2015 fishing 
year of 3,359.4 mt dw (2,937.6-18.8 + 440.6 = 3,359.4 mt dw). From that 
proposed adjusted quota, 50 mt dw would be allocated to the reserve 
category for inseason adjustments and research, and 300 mt dw would be 
allocated to the incidental category, which includes recreational 
landings and landings by incidental swordfish permit holders, per Sec.  
635.27(c)(1)(i). This would result in an allocation of 3,009.4 mt dw 
(3,359.4-50-300 = 3,009.4 mt dw) for the directed category, which would 
be split equally between two seasons in 2015 (January through June, and 
July through December) (Table 1).
    The preliminary landings used to calculate the proposed adjusted 
quota for North Atlantic swordfish are based on commercial dealer 
reports and reports by anglers in the HMS Non-Tournament Recreational 
Swordfish and Billfish Landings Database and the Recreational Billfish 
Survey received as of December 31, 2014, and do not include dead 
discards or late landings reports. The estimates are preliminary and 
have not yet undergone quality control and assurance procedures. NMFS 
will adjust the quotas in the final rule based on updated data, 
including dead discard data, if available. Note that the United States 
has carried over the full amount of underharvest allowed under ICCAT 
recommendations for the past several years, and NMFS does not expect 
fishing activity to vary significantly from these past years. For the 
final adjusted quota to deviate from the proposed quota, the sum of 
updated landings data (from late reports) and dead discard estimates 
would need to reach or exceed 2,028.7 mt dw, which is the difference 
between the current estimate of the 2014 underharvest (2,469.3 mt dw) 
and the maximum carryover cap of 440.6 mt dw (2,469.3-440.6 = 2,028.7 
mt dw). In 2013, dead discards were estimated to equal 90.2 mt dw and 
late reports equaled 143.0 mt dw. Consequently, NMFS does not believe 
updated data and dead discard estimates would alter the proposed 
adjusted quota. Thus, while the 2015 proposed North Atlantic swordfish 
quota is subject to further adjustments and this rule notifies the 
public of that potential change, NMFS does not expect the final quota 
to change from the proposed quota.

South Atlantic Swordfish Quota

    In 2013, ICCAT Recommendation 13-03 established the South Atlantic 
swordfish TAC at 11,278.2 mt dw (15,000 mt ww) for 2014, 2015, and 
2016. Of this, the United States receives 75.2 mt dw (100 mt ww). 
Recommendation 13-03 limits the amount of South Atlantic swordfish

[[Page 8840]]

underharvest that can be carried forward, and the United States may 
carry forward up to 100 percent of its baseline quota (75.2 mt dw). 
Recommendation 13-03 also included a total of 75.2 mt dw (100 mt ww) of 
quota transfers from the United States to other countries. These 
transfers were 37.6 mt dw (50 mt ww) to Namibia, 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) 
to C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire, and 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) to Belize.
    In 2014, U.S. fishermen landed no South Atlantic swordfish 
according to data available as of December 31, 2014. The adjusted 2014 
South Atlantic swordfish quota was 75.1 mt dw due to nominal landings 
the previous year. Therefore, 75.1 mt dw of underharvest is available 
to carry over to 2015. NMFS is proposing to carry forward 75.1 mt dw to 
be added to the 75.2 mt dw baseline quota. The quota would then be 
reduced by the 75.2 mt dw of annual international quota transfers 
outlined above, resulting in an adjusted South Atlantic swordfish quota 
of 75.1 mt dw for the 2015 fishing year.
    As with the landings and proposed quota for North Atlantic 
swordfish, the South Atlantic swordfish landings and proposed quota are 
based on dealer reports received as of December 31, 2014, do not 
include dead discards or late landings reports, and are preliminary 
landings estimates that have not yet undergone quality control and 
assurance procedures. NMFS will adjust the quotas in the final rule 
based on any updated data, including dead discard data, if available. 
Thus, the 2015 proposed South Atlantic swordfish quota is subject to 
further adjustments. However, the United States has only landed South 
Atlantic swordfish twice in the past several years (0.2 mt dw in April 
2010 and 0.1 mt dw in April 2013) and therefore does not anticipate 
additional landings or discard data that would change the final quota 
from the proposed quota.

         Table 1--2015 North and South Atlantic Swordfish Quotas
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  North Atlantic swordfish
        quota (mt dw)                 2014                  2015
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Baseline Quota..............  2,937.6.............  2,937.6
International Quota Transfer  (-)18.8 (to           (-)18.8 (to
                               Mauritania).          Mauritania)
Total Underharvest from       1,337.4.............  2,469.3
 Previous Year.+
Underharvest Carryover from   (+)734.4............  (+)440.6
 Previous Year.+
Adjusted Quota..............  3,653.2.............  3,359.4
Quota Allocation:
    Directed Category.......  3,303.2.............  3,009.4
    Incidental Category.....  300.................  300
    Reserve Category........  50..................  50
rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
  South Atlantic swordfish            2014                  2015
        quota (mt dw)
rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Baseline Quota..............  75.2................  75.2
International Quota           (-)75.2.............  (-)75.2
 Transfers *.
Total Underharvest from       75.1................  75.1
 Previous Year.+
Underharvest Carryover from   75.1................  75.1
 Previous Year.+
Adjusted quota..............  75.1................  75.1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
+ Allowable underharvest carryover is now capped at 15 percent of the
  baseline quota allocation for the North Atlantic (carryover was
  previously capped at 25 percent) and 75.2 dw (100 mt ww) for the South
  Atlantic. The available 2014 underharvest is based on data current as
  of December 31, 2014; it does not include dead discards, late reports,
  or changes to the data as a result of quality control adjustments.
* Under Recommendation 13-03, the U.S. transfers 75.2 mt dw (100 mt ww)
  annually to Namibia (37.6 mt dw, 50 mt ww), C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire (18.8
  mt dw, 25 mt ww), and Belize (18.8 mt dw, 25 mt ww).

Ecological and Socioeconomic Impacts

    In the EA, RIR, and FRFA prepared for the 2012 North Atlantic 
swordfish quota specifications final rule (July 31, 2012; 77 FR 45273), 
NMFS analyzed the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of harvesting 
substantially the same amount of annual adjusted quota being proposed 
here in the 2015 North Atlantic swordfish specifications). Similarly, 
the impacts of harvesting the amount of annual baseline quota proposed 
in the 2015 South Atlantic swordfish specifications were analyzed in 
the EA, RIR, and FRFA that were prepared for the 2007 Swordfish Quota 
Specification Final Rule (October 5, 2007; 72 FR 56929).
    The proposed North Atlantic swordfish quota adjustments would 
result in an adjusted quota for 2015 substantially similar to that 
analyzed in the 2012 EA, RIR, and FRFA and implemented in 2013 and 
2014. The quota analyzed in the 2012 EA, RIR, and FRFA was 3,559.2 mt 
dw and the proposed 2015 adjusted quota is 3,359.4 mt dw; a decrease of 
199.8 mt dw. The 2015 North Atlantic swordfish proposed quota is not 
expected to increase fishing effort, protected species interactions, or 
environmental effects in a manner not considered in the 2012 EA and 
would, in fact, cap all three at a level slightly lower than that 
analyzed in the 2012 EA. The difference between the quota analyzed in 
the 2012 EA and the 2015 proposed quota is due to two reasons. First, 
Recommendation 13-02 reduces the underharvest carryover limit beginning 
in 2015 from 25 percent of the base quota to 15 percent. In the 2012 
EA, the analysis took into account North Atlantic Swordfish 
underharvest carryovers of up to 25 percent. Since the proposed change 
in the underharvest carryover limit is within this range (i.e., it is 
less than 25 percent), the quota that would be implemented consistent 
with the reduced carryover provision has been previously analyzed. 
Furthermore, once effective, the reduced underharvest carryover limit 
would result in a lower overall North Atlantic swordfish adjusted 
quota. For these reasons, the quota that would be analyzed is within 
the range of the previously-analyzed actions under the existing NEPA 
analyses, and additional National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
analysis regarding the underharvest carryover limit is not necessary.
    The second reason the 2012 quota is different than the 2015 
proposed adjusted quota is Recommendation 13-02's elimination of the 
112.8 mt dw quota transfer to Morocco and the introduction of a lower 
18.8 mt dw quota transfer to Mauritania. No additional NEPA analysis is 
needed for the change in international quota transfers because in 
concert with the

[[Page 8841]]

reduction in the underharvest carryover limit, these changes are not 
expected to increase fishing effort, affect protected species 
interactions, or environmental effects beyond those considered in the 
existing NEPA analyses. Thus, NMFS has determined that the North 
Atlantic swordfish quota portion of the specifications and impacts to 
the human environment as a result of the proposed quota adjustments do 
not require additional NEPA analysis beyond that discussed in the 2012 
EA.
    Similarly, NMFS analyzed in the EA, RIR, and FRFA that were 
prepared for the 2007 Swordfish Quota Specification Final Rule (October 
5, 2007; 72 FR 56929) the impacts of harvesting the same amount of 
annual baseline quota being proposed here in the 2015 South Atlantic 
swordfish specifications. The proposed South Atlantic swordfish quota 
adjustments would not change overall quotas and are not expected to 
increase fishing effort, protected species interactions, or 
environmental effects beyond those analyzed in the 2007 EA. While ICCAT 
SCRS conducted a stock assessment for South Atlantic swordfish in 2013, 
that assessment did not alter the stock status or TAC from when 2007 EA 
analyses were conducted and no additional information about the 
environment has become available that would alter the analyses. 
Therefore, because there would be no changes to the South Atlantic 
swordfish management measures in this proposed rule, and no changes to 
the affected environment or any environmental effects that have not 
been previously analyzed, NMFS has determined that the South Atlantic 
swordfish quota portion of the specifications and impacts to the human 
environment as a result of the proposed quota adjustments do not 
require additional NEPA analysis beyond that analyzed in the 2007 EA.

Request for Comments

    NMFS is requesting comments on any of the measures or analyses 
described in this proposed rule. During the comment period, NMFS will 
hold one conference call and webinar for this proposed rule. The 
conference call and webinar will be held on March 3, 2015, from 1:00-
4:00 p.m. EST. Please see the DATES and ADDRESSES headings for more 
information.
    The public is reminded that NMFS expects participants on phone 
conferences to conduct themselves appropriately. At the beginning of 
the conference call, a representative of NMFS will explain the ground 
rules (e.g., all comments are to be directed to the agency on the 
proposed action; attendees will be called to give their comments in the 
order in which they registered to speak; each attendee will have an 
equal amount of time to speak; attendees may not interrupt one another; 
etc.). NMFS representative(s) will structure the meeting so that all 
attending members of the public will be able to comment, if they so 
choose, regardless of the controversial nature of the subject(s). 
Attendees are expected to respect the ground rules, and those that do 
not may be removed from the conference call.

Classification

    Pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant 
Administrator has determined that the proposed rule is consistent with 
the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments, other provisions of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, and other 
applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This action is exempt from review under E.O. 12866.
    Previously, NMFS determined that proposed rules to implement the 
North Atlantic swordfish quota framework (77 FR 25669, May 1, 2012) and 
South Atlantic swordfish quota framework (75 FR 35432, June 22, 2010) 
were consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable 
policies of the approved coastal management program of coastal states 
on the Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. 
Pursuant to 15 CFR 930.41(a), NMFS provided the Coastal Zone Management 
Program of each coastal state a 60-day period to review the consistency 
determination and to advise the Agency of their concurrence. NMFS 
received concurrence with the consistency determinations from several 
states and inferred consistency from those states that did not respond 
within the 60-day time period. This proposed action to establish the 
2015 North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas does not change the 
framework previously consulted upon; therefore, no additional 
consultation is required.
    The Chief Council for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Council for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
because the proposed quota adjustments are the largely the same as in 
previous years and the United States is not expected to catch its 
entire quota in 2015.
    As described above, this proposed rule would adjust the 2015 
baseline quota for North Atlantic swordfish (January 1, 2015, through 
December 31, 2015) to account for 2014 underharvests, as allowable, and 
international quota transfers per Sec.  635.27(c)(1)(i) and (c)(3)(ii) 
based on ICCAT Recommendation 13-02. The United States can carry over 
2014 underharvest at a level not to exceed 15 percent of its baseline 
quota. Additionally, ICCAT Recommendation 13-02 stipulates that the 
United States transfer 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) of quota to Mauritania.
    In 2014, U.S. fishermen landed 1,183.9 mt dw of North Atlantic 
swordfish as of December 31, 2014, leaving 2,469.3 mt dw of quota 
underharvest. This underharvest amount exceeds the maximum underharvest 
carryover of 440.6 mt dw; therefore, only the maximum amount of 440.6 
mt dw of 2014 underharvest would be carried over and added to the 2015 
baseline quota. The quota transfer of 18.8 mt dw to Mauritania would be 
deducted, leaving a proposed 2015 North Atlantic swordfish adjusted 
quota of 3,359.4 mt dw (Table 1).
    This proposed rule would also adjust the 2015 baseline quota for 
South Atlantic swordfish (January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015) 
to account for 2014 underharvests and international quota transfers per 
Sec.  635.27(c)(1)(ii) and (c)(3)(ii) based on ICCAT Recommendation 13-
03. The United States can carry over 2014 underharvest at a level not 
to exceed 100 percent of the baseline quota. Additionally, ICCAT 
Recommendation 13-03 stipulates that the United States transfer the 
following quota amounts to other countries: 37.6 mt dw (50 mt ww) to 
Namibia; 18.8 mt dw (25 mt ww) to C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire; and 18.8 mt dw 
(25 mt ww) to Belize.
    In 2014, U.S. fishermen landed no South Atlantic swordfish 
according to data available as of December 31, 2014. The adjusted 2014 
South Atlantic swordfish quota was 75.1 mt dw due to nominal landings 
the previous year. Therefore, 75.1 mt dw of underharvest is available 
to carry over to 2015. NMFS is proposing to carry forward 75.1 mt dw to 
be added to the 75.2 mt dw baseline quota. The quota would then be 
reduced by the 75.2 mt dw of annual international quota transfers 
outlined above, resulting in an adjusted South Atlantic swordfish quota 
of 75.1 mt dw for the 2015 fishing year. (Table 1).
    The commercial swordfish fishery is comprised of fishermen who hold 
one of three swordfish limited access permits (LAPs) (i.e., directed, 
incidental, or

[[Page 8842]]

handgear), fishermen who hold a swordfish general commercial permit, 
fishermen who hold an HMS incidental squid trawl permit, fishermen who 
hold a commercial Caribbean small boat permit, and the related 
industries, including processors, bait houses, and equipment suppliers. 
As of October 2014, there were approximately 183 vessels with a 
directed swordfish LAP, 66 vessels with an incidental swordfish LAP, 77 
vessels with a handgear LAP for swordfish, and 651 vessels that held a 
swordfish general commercial permit. Additionally, there were 
approximately 73 HMS incidental squid trawl permit holders, which allow 
vessels in the Illex squid fishery to retain up to 15 incidentally-
caught swordfish while trawling for squid. NMFS considers all 
participants in the commercial swordfish fishery to be small entities, 
based on the relevant North American Industry Classification System 
(NAICS) codes and size standards set by the Small Business 
Administration (SBA).
    The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently established new 
size criteria for all major industry sectors in the United States, 
including fish harvesters. On June 12, 2014, the SBA issued an interim 
final rule revising the small business size standards for several 
industries effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33467; June 12, 2014). The 
rule increased the size standard from $19.0 to $20.5 million for 
finfish fishing, from $5 to $5.5 million for shellfish fishing, and 
from $7.0 million to $7.5 million for other marine fishing, for-hire 
businesses, and marinas. NMFS has reviewed the analyses prepared for 
this action in light of the new size standards. Under the former, lower 
size standards, all entities subject to this action were considered 
small entities based on fishing revenues, thus they all would continue 
to be considered small under the new standards. The new size standards 
do not affect analyses prepared for this action.
    This action is not expected to result in a significant economic 
impact on the small entities subject to the quota limits. Based on the 
2014 average price for swordfish of $4.65/lb (based on 2014 electronic 
dealer data), the 2015 North and South Atlantic swordfish baseline 
quotas could result in gross revenues of $30,114,483 (2,937.6 mt dw 
(6,476,233 lbs dw) * $4.65/lb) and $770,905 (75.2 mt dw (165,786 lbs 
dw) * $4.65/lb), respectively, if the quotas were fully utilized. Under 
the adjusted quotas of 3,359.4 mt dw (7,406,133 lbs dw) for North 
Atlantic swordfish and 75.1 mt dw (165,565 lbs dw) for South Atlantic 
swordfish, the gross revenues could be $34,438,518 and $769,877, 
respectively, for fully utilized quotas.
    Potential revenues per vessel resulting from full utilization of 
the adjusted quotas could be $32,799 for the North Atlantic swordfish 
fishery and $4,207 for the South Atlantic swordfish fishery, 
considering a total of 1,050 swordfish permit holders in the North 
Atlantic and 183 directed permit holders in the South Atlantic. The 
North Atlantic estimate, however, represents an average across all 
permit types, despite permit differences in retention limits, target 
species, and geographical range. For North Atlantic swordfish, directed 
swordfish permit holders would likely experience higher than average 
per-vessel ex-vessel revenues due to the use of pelagic longline gear 
and the lack of a per-trip retention limit, although trip expenses are 
likely to be relatively high. HMS incidental squid trawl permit holders 
would likely experience per vessel ex-vessel revenues well below those 
received by pelagic longline vessels due to the low retention limit per 
trip (15 swordfish) and because these vessels do not target swordfish 
and only catch them incidentally. Swordfish general commercial permit 
holders would likely experience lower than average per-vessel ex-vessel 
revenues, despite higher ex-vessel prices and lower fishing expenses. 
Although the proposed 2015 North Atlantic swordfish adjusted quoted is 
199.8 mt dw lower than the quota analyzed in the 2012 EA, U.S. 
fishermen in recent years have not harvested the full North Atlantic 
swordfish quota. Thus, the 199.8 mt dw change in the total adjusted 
quota is unlikely to cause any economic impacts since that portion of 
the quota will likely go unutilized. In the future, if the North 
Atlantic swordfish fishery achieves full quota utilization, economic 
impacts will need to be reanalyzed. For South Atlantic swordfish, only 
directed swordfish permit holders can land these fish; therefore, 
potential revenue per vessel is higher than the average for these 
directed swordfish permit holders since the other permit types may not 
land swordfish. However, U.S. fishermen rarely catch South Atlantic 
swordfish. Over the past 5 years, 0.3 mt dw of South Atlantic swordfish 
catch has been reported. The proposed 2015 South Atlantic swordfish 
adjusted quota is unchanged from that analyzed in the 2007 EA, thus, no 
new economic impacts are expected.
    Because the United States' commercial swordfish fishery is not 
expected to catch its entire quota in 2015, the adjustments to the 
quota and management measures proposed in this rule will not have a 
significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. As a 
result, no initial regulatory flexibility analysis is required, and 
none has been prepared.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: February 13, 2015.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-03432 Filed 2-18-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P