Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Using Jig Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska, 11918-11919 [2015-05063]

Download as PDF 11918 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 Docket No. 140117052–4402–02] RIN 0648–XD799 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Quota Transfer National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; quota transfer. AGENCY: NMFS announces that the State of North Carolina is transferring a portion of its 2015 commercial summer flounder quota to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These quota adjustments are necessary to comply with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan quota transfer provision. This announcement is intended to inform the public of the revised commercial quota for each state involved. DATES: Effective March 2, 2015, through December 31, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Reid Lichwell, Fishery Management Specialist, 978–281–9112. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are in 50 CFR 648.100– 110. These regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned among the coastal states from North Carolina through Maine. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state are described in § 648.10(c)(1)(i). The final rule implementing Amendment 5 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan provided a mechanism for summer flounder quota to be transferred from one state to another (December 17, 1993; 58 FR 65936). Two or more states, under mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator, can transfer or combine summer flounder commercial quota under § 648.102(c)(2). The Regional Administrator is required to consider the criteria in § 648.102(c)(2)(i) when evaluating requests for quota transfers or combinations. North Carolina has agreed to transfer 10,860 lb (4,926 kg) of its 2015 commercial quota to Massachusetts. This transfer was prompted by landings mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 of the F/V Poseidon, a North Carolina vessel that was granted safe harbor in Massachusetts due to a medical emergency, on February 8, 2015. As a result of these landings, a quota transfer is necessary to account for an increase in Massachusetts landings that would have otherwise accrued against the North Carolina quota. The Regional Administrator has determined that the criteria set forth in § 648.102(c)(2)(i) have been met. These transfers are consistent with the criteria because they will not preclude the overall annual quota from being fully harvested, the transfers address an unforeseen variation or contingency in the fishery, and the transfers are consistent with the objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The revised summer flounder commercial quotas for calendar year 2015 are: Massachusetts, 760,795 lb (345,091 kg); and North Carolina, 2,994,691 lb (1,358,368 kg). Classification This action is taken under 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 2, 2015. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–05118 Filed 3–2–15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140918791–4999–02] RIN 0648–XD800 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Using Jig Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 2, 2015, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. Regulations governing sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR part 680. The A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 276 metric tons (mt), as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 271 mt and is setting aside the remaining 5 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip. Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of February 27, 2015. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment. This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 2, 2015. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–05063 Filed 3–2–15; 04:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 141021887–5172–02] RIN 0648–XD587 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; closures. AGENCY: NMFS announces final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2015 and 2016 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the BSAI (FMP). The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Effective from 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 5, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2016. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) prepared for this action are available from http://alaska fisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2014 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2014, as well as the SAFE reports for previous years, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK, 99510–2252, (phone) 907–271–2809, or from the Council’s Web site at http:// www.npfmc.org/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it under the MagnusonStevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all groundfish species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)). This final rule specifies the TAC at 2.0 million mt for both 2015 and 2016. NMFS also must specify apportionments of TAC, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21; seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; Amendment 80 allocations; and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 22 of this action satisfy these requirements. Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires NMFS to consider public comment on the proposed annual TACs (and apportionments thereof) and PSC allowances, and to publish final harvest PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11919 specifications in the Federal Register. The proposed 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications and PSC allowances for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2014 (79 FR 72571). Comments were invited and accepted through January 7, 2015. NMFS received five letters with 13 comments on the proposed harvest specifications. These comments are summarized and responded to in the ‘‘Response to Comments’’ section of this rule. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications during the December 2014 Council meeting in Anchorage, AK. After considering public comments, as well as biological and economic data that were available at the Council’s December meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest Specifications The final ABC levels for Alaska groundfish are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and overfishing levels (OFLs) involves sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations. The FMP specifies a series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts based on the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 1 represents the highest level of information quality available while Tier 6 represents the lowest. In December 2014, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Advisory Panel (AP), and Council reviewed current biological and harvest information about the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. The Council’s Plan Team compiled and presented this information in the final 2014 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated November 2014 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species’ biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the BSAI ecosystem and the economic condition of groundfish fisheries off Alaska. NMFS notified the public and asked for review of the SAFE report in the notice of proposed harvest specifications. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team recommended an OFL and ABC for each species or E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 43 (Thursday, March 5, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11918-11919]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05063]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 140918791-4999-02]
RIN 0648-XD800


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod 
by Vessels Using Jig Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of 
Alaska

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by 
vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of 
Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A 
season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch 
apportioned to vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of 
the GOA.

DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 2, 2015, 
through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing 
fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H 
of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. Regulations governing sideboard 
protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR 
part 680.
    The A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable 
catch (TAC) apportioned to vessels using jig gear in the Central 
Regulatory Area of the GOA is 276 metric tons (mt), as established by 
the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish of the 
GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season 
allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels using jig 
gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. 
Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed 
fishing allowance of 271 mt and is setting aside the remaining 5 mt as 
bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In 
accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator 
finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. 
Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by 
vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. After 
the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at 
Sec.  679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set 
forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is

[[Page 11919]]

impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent 
NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely 
fashion and would delay the directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for 
vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS 
was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment 
because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of 
February 27, 2015.
    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the 
effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is 
based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment.
    This action is required by Sec.  679.20 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: March 2, 2015.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-05063 Filed 3-2-15; 04:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P