Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Amendment 14 to the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan, 17352-17354 [2015-07289]

Download as PDF 17352 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 62 / Wednesday, April 1, 2015 / Rules and Regulations incidentally caught halibut in the salmon troll and sablefish primary fisheries, which start April 1. Therefore, allowing the 2014 subarea allocations and Plan to remain in place would not respond to the needs of the fishery and would be in conflict with the Council’s final recommendation for 2015. For all of these reasons, a delay in effectiveness could ultimately cause economic harm to the fishing industry and associated fishing communities by reducing fishing opportunity later in the year to keep catch in the subareas within the lower 2015 allocations or result in harvest levels inconsistent with the best available scientific information. As a result of the potential harm to fishing communities that could be caused by delaying the effectiveness of this final rule, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness and make this rule effective upon publication in the Federal Register. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300 Administrative practice and procedure, Antarctica, Canada, Exports, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Imports, Indians, Labeling, Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Russian Federation, Transportation, Treaties, Wildlife. Dated: March 26, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300 is amended as follows: consultation with the Chairman of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the Commission Executive Director, and the Fisheries Director(s) of the affected state(s), or their designees, is authorized to modify regulations during the season after making the following determinations: * * * * * (3) * * * (ii) Actual notice of inseason management actions will be provided by a telephone hotline administered by the West Coast Region, NMFS, at 206–526– 6667 or 800–662–9825 (May through October) and by U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts. These broadcasts are announced on Channel 16 VHF–FM and 2182 kHz at frequent intervals. The announcements designate the channel or frequency over which the notice to mariners will be immediately broadcast. Since provisions of these regulations may be altered by inseason actions, sport fishers should monitor either the telephone hotline or U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts for current information for the area in which they are fishing. * * * * * (5) Availability of data. The Regional Administrator will compile, in aggregate form, all data and other information relevant to the action being taken and will make them available for public review during normal office hours at the West Coast Regional Office, NMFS, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, Washington. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2015–07329 Filed 3–31–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Subpart E—Pacific Halibut Fisheries 1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart E continues to read as follows: ■ 50 CFR Part 660 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773–773k. RIN 0648–XD339 2. In § 300.63, revise paragraphs (a), (c)(1) introductory text, (c)(3)(ii), and (c)(5), to read as follows: * * * * * ■ rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES § 300.63 Catch sharing plan and domestic management measures in area 2A. (a) A catch sharing plan (CSP) may be developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and approved by NMFS for portions of the fishery. Any approved CSP may be obtained from the Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS. * * * * * (c) * * * (1) The Regional Administrator, NMFS West Coast Region, after VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:06 Mar 31, 2015 Jkt 235001 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Amendment 14 to the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of agency decision. AGENCY: NMFS announces the approval of Amendment 14 to the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The purpose of Amendment 14 is to specify an estimate of maximum sustainable yield SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (MSY) for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy in the CPS FMP. This action promotes the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws. DATES: The amendment was approved on March 23, 2015. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the CPS FMP as amended through Amendment 14 are available from the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Web site at: http://www.pcouncil.org/coastalpelagic-species/fishery-managementplan-and-amendments/. Requests for the list of references used in this document should be addressed to: NMFS, West Coast Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 501 West Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802. c/o Joshua Lindsay FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua B. Lindsay, Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS, at 562–980–4034 or Kerry Griffin, Pacific Fishery Management Council, at 503–820–2280. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The CPS fishery in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the West Coast is managed under the CPS FMP, which was developed by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Species managed under the CPS FMP include Pacific sardine, Pacific mackerel, jack mackerel, northern anchovy, market squid and krill. The CPS FMP was approved by the Secretary of Commerce and was implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 660, subpart I. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each regional fishery management council submit proposed amendments to a fishery management plan to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). The MagnusonStevens Act also requires that, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, NMFS immediately publish in the Federal Register a notice that the amendment is available for public review and comment. NMFS determined that Amendment 14 to the FMP is consistent with the MagnusonStevens Act and other applicable laws, and the Secretary approved Amendment 14 on March 23, 2015. The December 24, 2014, Notice of Availability contains additional information on this action. No changes to Federal regulations are necessary to implement Amendment 14. Amendment 14 will change the CPS FMP so that it now includes a specification of an estimate MSY for the northern subpopulation of northern E:\FR\FM\01APR1.SGM 01APR1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 62 / Wednesday, April 1, 2015 / Rules and Regulations anchovy. NMFS has determined that the specification of an FMSY of 0.3 as the MSY reference for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy point as recommended by the Council is appropriate and supported by the best available information. At the November 2013 Council meeting the Council adopted an FMSY of 0.3 as the best estimate of MSY for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy and voted to amend the CPS FMP accordingly to include this reference point. This action was based on data compiled by the CPS Management Team and a recommendation by the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee (SSC). An FMSY equal to 0.3, the default exploitation rate for Pacific mackerel, a stock for which more information is known regarding stock variability and productivity, was deemed an appropriate specification of MSY by the SSC. This was deemed appropriate by the SSC because the best available information regarding northern anchovy shows that northern anchovy are likely to be at least as productive as Pacific mackerel, and likely have higher natural mortality, which would typically be associated with a higher FMSY. Speaking further to their recommendation of the FMSY, the SSC stated that due to both high uncertainty in the available biomass estimates and large fluctuations in stock biomass that are known to occur in species such as anchovy, a fixed biomass-based approach to specifying MSY would likely not be appropriate. Additionally, because the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy is lightly fished, with inconsistent effort over time, the existing time series of catch was likely an unreliable indicator of stock status and therefore determining a catch-based MSY would not be meaningful. The Notice of Availability for Amendment 14 was published in the Federal Register on December 24, 2014 (79 FR 77426), with a 60-day comment period that ended on February 23, 2015. NMFS received one comment letter during the public comment period. No changes were made in response to these comments. NMFS summarizes and responds to that comment below. Comment: The majority of points raised in the comment were outside the scope of Amendment 14 and instead were related to the CPS FMP as a whole and/or other aspects of the management of the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy beyond the establishment of an MSY reference point, which is the purpose and substance of Amendment 14. Those comments will not be addressed here. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:06 Mar 31, 2015 Jkt 235001 However, NMFS found the comments valuable and will consider them for future management planning, and will ensure the Council is aware of the comments. Related to Amendment 14, the commenter questioned some of the scientific rationale underlying the MSY recommendation, specifically the commenter states that productivity is not constant and states that the MSY estimate does not account for the current productivity of the stock and may overestimate the productivity of the stock during periods of low natural recruitment, which the commenter states currently appears to be the case from recent NMFS, CalCOFI, and independent surveys and that the use of information on Pacific mackerel to help determine the estimate may not be appropriate. The commenter however did not state that the Amendment should not be approved and expressed encouragement by the establishment of this reference point. Response: NMFS agrees with the commenter that productivity of the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy is likely not constant over time. Much like other CPS stocks, the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy is likely subject to relatively large fluctuations in stock biomass that are driven by changes in environmental conditions. As described below, this specific life history trait was in fact part of the rationale for the SSC’s recommendation to the Council and subsequent adoption by the Council of an FMSY equal to 0.3 over a fixed biomass-based or catch-based MSY that may not fully take these factors into consideration. Additionally, NMFS points out that by definition MSY is a long-term average, therefore at times any estimate may be an overestimate or an underestimate, however, the MSY estimate is intended to reflect a fishing mortality rate that does not jeopardize the capacity of a stock or stock complex to produce MSY. As it relates to the specific information used to make the determination that an FMSY equal to 0.3 is appropriate for use as the MSY reference point for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy, NMFS has determined the best available scientific information was used. In addition, an FMSY equal to 0.3 was recommended to the Council by its SSC, the scientific advisory body to the Council tasked with making such recommendations based on the best available information. Although the commenter states that there is recent survey information that is contrary to this determination, no specific evidence or citations for this referenced PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 17353 information is provided to show that the a FMSY equal to 0.3 does not represent the best available science for estimating MSY for this stock. Furthermore, the commenter references the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) survey however this survey only occurs off of southern and south-central California, were as the southern extent of the habitat range for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy is northern California. In making their recommendation on MSY the SSC reviewed all of the available information on the stock, which although limited, included information such as egg and larvae survey data, density and distribution data, stock productivity and vulnerability information and landings data, which was prepared and presented to them by the Council’s CPSMT (Agenda Item I.2.c, CPSMT Report 1, November 2010 and references contained within). Included in this scientific and fishery information, and specifically examined for potential use in estimating MSY, were (the only) two estimates of biomass: One from the 1970s (Richardson 1981), and the other from an acoustic survey conducted by researchers at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in 2008 as well as the historical time series of catch going back to the 1950s. In reviewing this information, however, the SSC noted that the available biomass estimates were uncertain and, because there were only two, they provided little information on the variability of stock biomass over time. Furthermore, the SSC also noted that because the northern subpopulation of anchovy has been lightly fished, with inconsistent effort, that the time series of catch was an unreliable indicator of annual stock status. It was therefore determined that because of the paucity of biomass data and the nature of the landings information, that a MSY estimate based either of these sources would not be representative of the biology of the stock, and that it would be more appropriate to use a rate-based approach to estimate MSY instead of biomass or catch-based method. Although general biological information on the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy exists, specific productivity information is limited; therefore the SSC looked at information available for the other CPS stocks to help determine an appropriate rate. For instance, the default exploitation rate for Pacific mackerel, a stock for which more information is known regarding stock variability and productivity (stock assessments for E:\FR\FM\01APR1.SGM 01APR1 17354 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 62 / Wednesday, April 1, 2015 / Rules and Regulations rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES Pacific mackerel have occurred since 1978, with annual assessments generally since 2000), is 0.3. Based on what information is known regarding northern anchovy, they are assumed to be at least as productive as Pacific mackerel, and likely have higher natural mortality (Patrick et al. 2009, PFMC 1998, Crone et al. 2011) which would typically be associated with a higher FMSY. Therefore an FMSY equal to 0.3 VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:06 Mar 31, 2015 Jkt 235001 was deemed an appropriate specification of MSY by the SSC, for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy, in part, because the previous determination of 0.3 as the default exploitation rate for Pacific mackerel and the existing knowledge of the two stocks. References Cited Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 23, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–07289 Filed 3–31–15; 8:45 am] The complete citations for the references used in this document can be obtained by PO 00000 contacting NMFS (See ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Sfmt 9990 BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\01APR1.SGM 01APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 62 (Wednesday, April 1, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 17352-17354]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-07289]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

RIN 0648-XD339


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species 
Fisheries; Amendment 14 to the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery 
Management Plan

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

ACTION: Notice of agency decision.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces the approval of Amendment 14 to the Coastal 
Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The purpose of 
Amendment 14 is to specify an estimate of maximum sustainable yield 
(MSY) for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy in the CPS 
FMP. This action promotes the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMP, and other 
applicable laws.

DATES: The amendment was approved on March 23, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the CPS FMP as amended through 
Amendment 14 are available from the Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council) Web site at: http://www.pcouncil.org/coastal-pelagic-species/fishery-management-plan-and-amendments/. Requests for the list of 
references used in this document should be addressed to: NMFS, West 
Coast Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 501 West Ocean Blvd., 
Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802. c/o Joshua Lindsay

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua B. Lindsay, Sustainable 
Fisheries Division, NMFS, at 562-980-4034 or Kerry Griffin, Pacific 
Fishery Management Council, at 503-820-2280.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The CPS fishery in the U.S. exclusive 
economic zone (EEZ) off the West Coast is managed under the CPS FMP, 
which was developed by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 
U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Species managed under the CPS FMP include Pacific 
sardine, Pacific mackerel, jack mackerel, northern anchovy, market 
squid and krill. The CPS FMP was approved by the Secretary of Commerce 
and was implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 660, subpart I.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each regional fishery 
management council submit proposed amendments to a fishery management 
plan to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval 
by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). The Magnuson-Stevens Act also 
requires that, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, NMFS 
immediately publish in the Federal Register a notice that the amendment 
is available for public review and comment. NMFS determined that 
Amendment 14 to the FMP is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable laws, and the Secretary approved Amendment 14 on March 
23, 2015. The December 24, 2014, Notice of Availability contains 
additional information on this action. No changes to Federal 
regulations are necessary to implement Amendment 14. Amendment 14 will 
change the CPS FMP so that it now includes a specification of an 
estimate MSY for the northern subpopulation of northern

[[Page 17353]]

anchovy. NMFS has determined that the specification of an FMSY of 0.3 
as the MSY reference for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy 
point as recommended by the Council is appropriate and supported by the 
best available information.
    At the November 2013 Council meeting the Council adopted an 
FMSY of 0.3 as the best estimate of MSY for the northern 
subpopulation of northern anchovy and voted to amend the CPS FMP 
accordingly to include this reference point. This action was based on 
data compiled by the CPS Management Team and a recommendation by the 
Council's Science and Statistical Committee (SSC). An FMSY 
equal to 0.3, the default exploitation rate for Pacific mackerel, a 
stock for which more information is known regarding stock variability 
and productivity, was deemed an appropriate specification of MSY by the 
SSC. This was deemed appropriate by the SSC because the best available 
information regarding northern anchovy shows that northern anchovy are 
likely to be at least as productive as Pacific mackerel, and likely 
have higher natural mortality, which would typically be associated with 
a higher FMSY. Speaking further to their recommendation of 
the FMSY, the SSC stated that due to both high uncertainty 
in the available biomass estimates and large fluctuations in stock 
biomass that are known to occur in species such as anchovy, a fixed 
biomass-based approach to specifying MSY would likely not be 
appropriate. Additionally, because the northern subpopulation of 
northern anchovy is lightly fished, with inconsistent effort over time, 
the existing time series of catch was likely an unreliable indicator of 
stock status and therefore determining a catch-based MSY would not be 
meaningful.
    The Notice of Availability for Amendment 14 was published in the 
Federal Register on December 24, 2014 (79 FR 77426), with a 60-day 
comment period that ended on February 23, 2015. NMFS received one 
comment letter during the public comment period. No changes were made 
in response to these comments. NMFS summarizes and responds to that 
comment below.
    Comment: The majority of points raised in the comment were outside 
the scope of Amendment 14 and instead were related to the CPS FMP as a 
whole and/or other aspects of the management of the northern 
subpopulation of northern anchovy beyond the establishment of an MSY 
reference point, which is the purpose and substance of Amendment 14. 
Those comments will not be addressed here. However, NMFS found the 
comments valuable and will consider them for future management 
planning, and will ensure the Council is aware of the comments. Related 
to Amendment 14, the commenter questioned some of the scientific 
rationale underlying the MSY recommendation, specifically the commenter 
states that productivity is not constant and states that the MSY 
estimate does not account for the current productivity of the stock and 
may overestimate the productivity of the stock during periods of low 
natural recruitment, which the commenter states currently appears to be 
the case from recent NMFS, CalCOFI, and independent surveys and that 
the use of information on Pacific mackerel to help determine the 
estimate may not be appropriate. The commenter however did not state 
that the Amendment should not be approved and expressed encouragement 
by the establishment of this reference point.
    Response: NMFS agrees with the commenter that productivity of the 
northern subpopulation of northern anchovy is likely not constant over 
time. Much like other CPS stocks, the northern subpopulation of 
northern anchovy is likely subject to relatively large fluctuations in 
stock biomass that are driven by changes in environmental conditions. 
As described below, this specific life history trait was in fact part 
of the rationale for the SSC's recommendation to the Council and 
subsequent adoption by the Council of an FMSY equal to 0.3 
over a fixed biomass-based or catch-based MSY that may not fully take 
these factors into consideration. Additionally, NMFS points out that by 
definition MSY is a long-term average, therefore at times any estimate 
may be an overestimate or an underestimate, however, the MSY estimate 
is intended to reflect a fishing mortality rate that does not 
jeopardize the capacity of a stock or stock complex to produce MSY.
    As it relates to the specific information used to make the 
determination that an FMSY equal to 0.3 is appropriate for 
use as the MSY reference point for the northern subpopulation of 
northern anchovy, NMFS has determined the best available scientific 
information was used. In addition, an FMSY equal to 0.3 was 
recommended to the Council by its SSC, the scientific advisory body to 
the Council tasked with making such recommendations based on the best 
available information. Although the commenter states that there is 
recent survey information that is contrary to this determination, no 
specific evidence or citations for this referenced information is 
provided to show that the a FMSY equal to 0.3 does not 
represent the best available science for estimating MSY for this stock. 
Furthermore, the commenter references the California Cooperative 
Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) survey however this survey 
only occurs off of southern and south-central California, were as the 
southern extent of the habitat range for the northern subpopulation of 
northern anchovy is northern California. In making their recommendation 
on MSY the SSC reviewed all of the available information on the stock, 
which although limited, included information such as egg and larvae 
survey data, density and distribution data, stock productivity and 
vulnerability information and landings data, which was prepared and 
presented to them by the Council's CPSMT (Agenda Item I.2.c, CPSMT 
Report 1, November 2010 and references contained within). Included in 
this scientific and fishery information, and specifically examined for 
potential use in estimating MSY, were (the only) two estimates of 
biomass: One from the 1970s (Richardson 1981), and the other from an 
acoustic survey conducted by researchers at the Southwest Fisheries 
Science Center in 2008 as well as the historical time series of catch 
going back to the 1950s. In reviewing this information, however, the 
SSC noted that the available biomass estimates were uncertain and, 
because there were only two, they provided little information on the 
variability of stock biomass over time. Furthermore, the SSC also noted 
that because the northern subpopulation of anchovy has been lightly 
fished, with inconsistent effort, that the time series of catch was an 
unreliable indicator of annual stock status. It was therefore 
determined that because of the paucity of biomass data and the nature 
of the landings information, that a MSY estimate based either of these 
sources would not be representative of the biology of the stock, and 
that it would be more appropriate to use a rate-based approach to 
estimate MSY instead of biomass or catch-based method.
    Although general biological information on the northern 
subpopulation of northern anchovy exists, specific productivity 
information is limited; therefore the SSC looked at information 
available for the other CPS stocks to help determine an appropriate 
rate. For instance, the default exploitation rate for Pacific mackerel, 
a stock for which more information is known regarding stock variability 
and productivity (stock assessments for

[[Page 17354]]

Pacific mackerel have occurred since 1978, with annual assessments 
generally since 2000), is 0.3. Based on what information is known 
regarding northern anchovy, they are assumed to be at least as 
productive as Pacific mackerel, and likely have higher natural 
mortality (Patrick et al. 2009, PFMC 1998, Crone et al. 2011) which 
would typically be associated with a higher FMSY. Therefore 
an FMSY equal to 0.3 was deemed an appropriate specification 
of MSY by the SSC, for the northern subpopulation of northern anchovy, 
in part, because the previous determination of 0.3 as the default 
exploitation rate for Pacific mackerel and the existing knowledge of 
the two stocks.

References Cited

    The complete citations for the references used in this document 
can be obtained by contacting NMFS (See ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).

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

    Dated: March 23, 2015.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-07289 Filed 3-31-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P