Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 9, 28575-28578 [2015-12060]

Download as PDF rljohnson on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 96 / Tuesday, May 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules instructions for VMS installation and a list of the current type-approved VMS units and mobile communication service providers. (2) VMS Unit Activation. If the VMS unit has not yet been activated as described in this paragraph, or if the VMS unit has been newly installed or reinstalled, or if the mobile communications service provider has changed since the previous activation, or if directed by the SAC, the vessel owner or operator must, prior to leaving port: (i) Turn on the VMS unit to make it operational; (ii) Submit a written activation report to the SAC, via mail, facsimile or email, that includes the vessel’s name; the vessel’s official number; the VMS unit manufacturer and identification number; and telephone, facsimile or email contact information for the vessel owner or operator; and (iii) Receive verbal or written confirmation from the SAC that the proper VMS unit transmissions are being received from the VMS unit. (3) VMS Unit Operation. The vessel owner and operator shall continuously operate the VMS unit at all times, except that the VMS unit may be shut down while the vessel is in port or otherwise not at sea, or if, after the end of the fishing season, the vessel will no longer be engaging in fishing activities in the Convention Area for which either a Pacific highly migratory species permit or a high seas fishing permit is required, provided that the owner or operator: (i) Prior to shutting down the VMS unit, reports to the SAC or the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement’s VMS Helpdesk via facsimile, email, or webform the following information: The intent to shut down the VMS unit; the vessel’s name; the vessel’s official number; an estimate for when the vessel’s VMS may be turned back on; and telephone, facsimile or email contact information for the vessel owner or operator. In addition, the vessel owner or operator shall receive verbal or written confirmation from the SAC before shutting down the VMS unit after the end of the fishing season; and (ii) When turning the VMS unit back on, report to the SAC or the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement’s VMS Helpdesk, via mail, facsimile or email, the following information: That the VMS unit has been turned on; the vessel’s name; the vessel’s official number; and telephone, facsimile or email contact information for the vessel owner or operator; and (iii) Prior to leaving port, receive verbal or written confirmation from the VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:25 May 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 SAC that proper transmissions are being received from the VMS unit. (4) Failure of VMS unit. If the VMS unit has become inoperable or transmission of automatic position reports from the VMS unit has been interrupted, or if notified by NOAA or the USCG that automatic position reports are not being received from the VMS unit or that an inspection of the VMS unit has revealed a problem with the performance of the VMS unit, the vessel owner or operator shall comply with the following requirements: (i) If the vessel is at port: The vessel owner or operator shall repair or replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable before the vessel leaves port. (ii) If the vessel is at sea: The vessel owner, operator, or designee shall contact the SAC by telephone, facsimile, or email at the earliest opportunity during the SAC’s business hours and identify the caller and vessel. The vessel operator shall follow the instructions provided by the SAC which could include, but are not limited to, ceasing fishing, stowing fishing gear, returning to port, and/or submitting periodic position reports at specified intervals by other means; and repair or replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable before starting the next trip. (5) Related VMS Requirements. Installing, carrying and operating a VMS unit in compliance with the requirements in 50 CFR 300.219, 50 CFR 660.712, 50 CFR 660.14, or 50 CFR 665.19 relating to the installation, carrying, and operation of VMS units shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section, provided that the VMS unit is operated continuously and at all times while the vessel is at sea, unless the SAC authorizes a VMS unit to be shut down as described in paragraph (c)(3), the VMS unit and mobile communications service providers are type-approved by NOAA for fisheries in IATTC Convention Area, the owner or operator has authorized NOAA to receive and relay transmissions from the VMS unit, and the specific requirements of paragraph (c)(4) of this section are followed. If the VMS unit is owned by NOAA, the requirement under paragraph (c)(4) of this section to repair or replace the VMS unit will be the responsibility of NOAA, but the vessel owner and operator shall be responsible for ensuring that the VMS unit is operable before leaving port or starting the next trip. (d) Costs. The vessel owner and operator shall be responsible for all costs associated with the purchase, installation and maintenance of the VMS unit and for all charges levied by PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 28575 the mobile communications service provider as necessary to ensure the transmission of automatic position reports to NOAA as required in paragraph (c) of this section. However, if NOAA is paying for the VMSassociated costs because the VMS unit is carried and operated under a requirement of 50 CFR 300.219, 50 CFR 660.712, or 50 CFR 665.19, the vessel owner and operator shall not be responsible to pay the costs. (e) Tampering. The vessel owner and operator must ensure that the VMS unit is not tampered with, disabled, destroyed, damaged or maintained improperly, and that its operation is not impeded or interfered with. (f) Inspection. The vessel owner and operator must make the VMS unit, including its antenna, connectors and antenna cable, available for inspection by authorized officers. (g) Access to data. The vessel owner and operator must make the vessel’s position data obtained from the VMS unit or other means immediately and always available for inspection by NOAA personnel, USCG personnel, and authorized officers. [FR Doc. 2015–11991 Filed 5–18–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 150401329–5437–01] RIN 0648–BF00 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 9 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule, request for comments. AGENCY: Framework Adjustment 9 proposes management measures to further enhance catch monitoring and address discarding catch before it has been sampled by observers (known as slippage), in the Atlantic mackerel fishery. Framework 9 would implement slippage consequence measures, and a requirement that slippage events be reported via the vessel monitoring system. For allowable slippage events, due to safety, mechanical failure, or excess catch of spiny dogfish, vessels SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19MYP1.SGM 19MYP1 rljohnson on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 28576 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 96 / Tuesday, May 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules must move 15 nm from the location of the slippage event. For non-allowable slippage events, due to reasons other than those listed previously, vessels must terminate their fishing trip. Slippage events have the potential to substantially affect analysis or extrapolations of incidental catch, including river herring and shad, these proposed measures are designed to address this issue. DATES: Public comments must be received by June 18, 2015. ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents used by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, including the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), are available from: Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901, telephone (302) 674–2331. The EA/RIR/ IRFA is also accessible via the Internet at http:// www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov. You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2015–0049, by any one 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-20150049, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on Framework 9.’’ 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). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carly Bari, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9224, fax (978) 281–9135. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background NMFS implemented measures to improve catch monitoring of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:25 May 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries through Amendment 14 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) (79 FR 10029, February 24, 2014). The focus of Amendment 14 was to improve evaluation of the incidental catch of river herring (alewife and blueback herring) and shad (American shad and hickory shad), and to address incidental catch of river herring and shad. NMFS disapproved three measures that were initially included in Amendment 14 including: A dealer reporting requirement; a cap that, if achieved, would require vessels discarding catch before it had been sampled by observers (known as slippage) to return to port; and a recommendation of 100-percent observer coverage on midwater trawl vessels and 100-, 50-, and 25-percent observer coverage on bottom trawl mackerel vessels, with the industry contributing $325 per day toward observer costs. Currently, slippage events are prohibited for vessels issued a limited access mackerel permit or a longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit and carrying a NMFS-approved observer except in circumstances which allow slippage events including: Safety; mechanical failure; and excess catch of spiny dogfish. Additionally, following a slippage event, vessels are currently required to submit a Released Catch Affidavit within 48 hours of the end of the fishing trip. In response to the disapproval of the slippage measures in Amendment 14, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council developed Framework Adjustment 9 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP to further enhance catch monitoring and to address slippage in the Atlantic mackerel fishery. Framework 9 would add slippage consequence measures and slippage reporting requirements to build upon the current measures and to address monitoring the catch of river herring and shad. Framework 9 would require Tier 1, 2, and 3 mackerel vessels on observed trips to move 15 nm following an excepted slippage event, which includes safety, mechanical failure, or excess catch of spiny dogfish. These vessels would also be required to terminate a fishing trip and immediately return to port following a non-excepted slippage event, which would be due to any reason other than those listed above. In addition to submitting a Released Catch Affidavit, vessels carrying an observer would also be required to report all slippage events through the vessel monitoring system daily catch report for mackerel and longfin squid. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Corrections This proposed rule also contains an additional regulation change that was mistakenly omitted in the 2015–2017 Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish specifications final rule (80 FR 14870, March 20, 2015). This regulation change would prohibit all vessels with a valid mackerel permit from fishing for, possessing, transferring, receiving, or selling more than 20,000 lb (9.07 mt) of mackerel per trip or per day after 95 percent of the river herring and shad catch cap has been harvested. This change in the regulations was identified, described, and made available for public comment in the proposed rule for the 2015–2017 Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish specifications (79 FR 68202, November 14, 2014). Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. An IRFA was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A summary of the analysis follows. Description of the Reasons Why Action by the Agency Is Being Considered This action proposes management measures for the slippage consequences to better monitor catch of river herring and shad in the Atlantic mackerel fishery. The preamble to this proposed rule includes a complete description of the reasons why the Council and NMFS are considering this action and these are not repeated here. Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, This Proposed Rule The purpose of this proposed action is to minimize slippage, which will improve observer data, and should in turn improve decision-making that uses observer data. Failure to implement the measures described in this proposed rule could result in biased observer data. The preamble to this proposed rule includes a complete description of the objectives of and legal basis for this action and these are not repeated here. E:\FR\FM\19MYP1.SGM 19MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 96 / Tuesday, May 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which This Proposed Rule Would Apply The proposed alternative applies to mackerel limited access permits. Based on permit data for 2013, 150 separate vessels hold mackerel limited access permits, 114 entities own those vessels, and, based on current Small Business Administration (SBA) definitions, 107 of these are small entities. Of the 107 small entities, 4 had no revenue in 2013 and those entities with no revenue are considered small entities for the purpose of this analysis. All of the entities that had revenue fell into the finfish or shellfish categories, and the SBA definitions for those categories for 2014 are $20.5 million for finfish fishing and $5.5 million for shellfish fishing. Of the entities with revenues, their average revenues in 2013 were $1,201,419. 70 had primary revenues from finfish fishing and 33 had their primary revenues from shellfish fishing. rljohnson on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Description of the Projected Reporting, Record-Keeping, and Other Compliance Requirements of This Proposed Rule The proposed action contains collection-of-information requirements subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This requirement has been submitted to OMB for approval under Control Number 0648–0679. Under the proposed action, all limited access mackerel vessels carrying an observer would be required to report all slippage events on the VMS mackerel and longfin squid daily catch report. This information collection is intended to improve monitoring the catch of river herring and shad in the Atlantic mackerel fishery. The burden estimates for these new requirements apply to all limited access mackerel vessels. In a given fishing year, NMFS estimates that these additionally reporting requirements will not cause any additional time or cost burden from that which was previously approved under OMB Control Number 0648–0679. Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:25 May 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to the Regional Administrator (see ADDRESSES), and email to OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395–5806. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, no person is required to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: http://www.cio.noaa.gov/ services_programs/prasubs.html. Federal Rules Which May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With This Proposed Rule This action contains no other compliance costs. It does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal law. Description of Significant Alternatives to the Proposed Action Which Accomplish the Stated Objectives of Applicable Statues and Which Minimize Any Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities The proposed alternative should not have more than minimal impact on the affected small entities compared to recent operation of the fishery (2011– 2013, and 2014 landings to date appear similar to 2013). First, the primary impact should only be that vessels will not slip catches before observers have a chance to observe/sample them, which should have almost no economic impact on vessels. Slippage for reasons besides safety, mechanical issues, and spiny dogfish are already prohibited, and this proposed action would require vessels to move 15 nm before fishing again if a slippage for those excepted reasons occurs (vessels could not fish within 15 nm of the slippage event for the remainder of the trip). Total small entity mackerel revenues over 2011–2013 averaged $2.0 million, for an average of approximately $19,000 per affected small entity (107), compared to their average revenues of $1,201,419 in 2013 as described above. Given the small relative value of mackerel for most affected entities, the infrequency of slippage, and given the consequence of excepted slippages is only to move 15 nm, it seems likely that the economic impacts should be minimal for affected small entities. This is especially true since only a small portion of trips are observed, and the measures only apply to observed trips. If slippages have been masking higher river herring and shad landings, it is PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 28577 possible that prohibiting slippages could lead to the mackerel fishery closing earlier (because of the river herring and shad cap) than it otherwise would if more slippages were occurring. However, given the very low mackerel catches in recent years (less than 20 percent of the quota), it is more likely that catch increases might be limited rather than actually having decreased catches, so small entities should not be more than minimally impacted compared to recent fishery operations. In addition, if vessels are prohibited from targeting mackerel due to the cap, they will likely partially mitigate any foregone revenue by fishing for other species (e.g. squid, butterfish, herring, etc.). List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: May 13, 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 648 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.11, paragraph (n)(3)(ii) is revised and paragraph (n)(3)(iii) is added to read as follows: ■ § 648.11 At-sea sea sampler/observer coverage. * * * * * (n) * * * (3) * * * (ii) If fish are released prior to being brought on board the vessel due to any of the exceptions in paragraphs (n)(3)(i)(A)–(C) of this section, the vessel operator must move at least 15 nm from the location of release before fishing again, and must stay at least 15 nm from the slippage event location for the remainder of the fishing trip. The vessel operator must also complete and sign a Released Catch Affidavit detailing the vessel name and permit number; the VTR serial number; where, when, and for what reason the catch was released; the estimated weight of each species brought on board (if only part of the tow was released) or released on that tow. A completed affidavit must be submitted to NMFS within 48 hr of the end of the trip. The vessel operator must also report a slippage event on the VMS E:\FR\FM\19MYP1.SGM 19MYP1 28578 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 96 / Tuesday, May 19, 2015 / Proposed Rules rljohnson on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS mackerel and longfin squid daily catch report. (iii) If fish are released prior to being brought on board the vessel due to any reason other than the exceptions in paragraphs (n)(3)(i)(A)–(C) of this section, the vessel operator must immediately terminate the trip and return to port. No fishing activity may occur during the return to port. The vessel operator must also complete and sign a Released Catch Affidavit detailing the vessel name and permit number; the VTR serial number; where, when, and for what reason the catch was released; the estimated weight of each species brought on board (if only part of the tow was released) or released on that tow. A completed affidavit must be submitted to NMFS within 48 hr of the end of the trip. The vessel operator must also report the slippage event on the VMS VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:25 May 18, 2015 Jkt 235001 mackerel and longfin squid daily catch report. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 648.14, paragraph (g)(2)(ii)(G) is added, paragraphs (g)(2)(vi) and (vii) are revised and paragraphs (g)(2)(viii), (ix), and (x) are added to read as follows: § 648.14 Prohibitions. * * * * * (g) * * * (2) * * * (ii) * * * (G) Fish for, possess, transfer, receive, or sell; or attempt to fish for, possess, transfer, receive, or sell; more than 20,000 lb (9.07 mt) of mackerel per trip; or land, or attempt to land more than 20,000 lb (9.07 mt) of mackerel per day after 95 percent of the river herring and shad cap has been harvested, if the vessel holds a valid mackerel permit. * * * * * (vi) Release fish from codend of the net, transfer fish to another vessel that PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 is not carrying a NMFS-approved observer, or otherwise discard fish at sea before bringing the fish aboard and making it available to the observer for sampling, unless subject to one of the exceptions defined at § 648.11(n)(3) if issued a Limited Access Atlantic mackerel permit, or a longfin squid/ butterfish moratorium permit. (vii) Fail to move 15 nm, as specified at § 648.11(n)(3)(ii). (viii) Fail to immediately return to port as specified at § 648.11(n)(3)(iii). (ix) Fail to complete, sign, and submit a Released Catch Affidavit if fish are released pursuant to the requirements at § 648.11(n)(3). (x) Fail to report a slippage event on the VMS mackerel and longfin squid daily catch report. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2015–12060 Filed 5–18–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19MYP1.SGM 19MYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 96 (Tuesday, May 19, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28575-28578]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-12060]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 150401329-5437-01]
RIN 0648-BF00


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, 
Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 9

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

ACTION: Proposed rule, request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: Framework Adjustment 9 proposes management measures to further 
enhance catch monitoring and address discarding catch before it has 
been sampled by observers (known as slippage), in the Atlantic mackerel 
fishery. Framework 9 would implement slippage consequence measures, and 
a requirement that slippage events be reported via the vessel 
monitoring system. For allowable slippage events, due to safety, 
mechanical failure, or excess catch of spiny dogfish, vessels

[[Page 28576]]

must move 15 nm from the location of the slippage event. For non-
allowable slippage events, due to reasons other than those listed 
previously, vessels must terminate their fishing trip. Slippage events 
have the potential to substantially affect analysis or extrapolations 
of incidental catch, including river herring and shad, these proposed 
measures are designed to address this issue.

DATES: Public comments must be received by June 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents used by the Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council, including the Environmental Assessment (EA) 
and Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA), are available from: Dr. Christopher M. Moore, 
Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North 
State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901, telephone (302) 674-2331. The 
EA/RIR/IRFA is also accessible via the Internet at http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov.
    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0049, by any 
one 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-2015-0049, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to NMFS, Northeast Regional 
Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside 
of the envelope ``Comments on Framework 9.''
    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).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carly Bari, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9224, fax (978) 281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    NMFS implemented measures to improve catch monitoring of the 
mackerel, squid, and butterfish fisheries through Amendment 14 to the 
Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) 
(79 FR 10029, February 24, 2014). The focus of Amendment 14 was to 
improve evaluation of the incidental catch of river herring (alewife 
and blueback herring) and shad (American shad and hickory shad), and to 
address incidental catch of river herring and shad. NMFS disapproved 
three measures that were initially included in Amendment 14 including: 
A dealer reporting requirement; a cap that, if achieved, would require 
vessels discarding catch before it had been sampled by observers (known 
as slippage) to return to port; and a recommendation of 100-percent 
observer coverage on midwater trawl vessels and 100-, 50-, and 25-
percent observer coverage on bottom trawl mackerel vessels, with the 
industry contributing $325 per day toward observer costs.
    Currently, slippage events are prohibited for vessels issued a 
limited access mackerel permit or a longfin squid/butterfish moratorium 
permit and carrying a NMFS-approved observer except in circumstances 
which allow slippage events including: Safety; mechanical failure; and 
excess catch of spiny dogfish. Additionally, following a slippage 
event, vessels are currently required to submit a Released Catch 
Affidavit within 48 hours of the end of the fishing trip. In response 
to the disapproval of the slippage measures in Amendment 14, the Mid-
Atlantic Fishery Management Council developed Framework Adjustment 9 to 
the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP to further enhance 
catch monitoring and to address slippage in the Atlantic mackerel 
fishery. Framework 9 would add slippage consequence measures and 
slippage reporting requirements to build upon the current measures and 
to address monitoring the catch of river herring and shad.
    Framework 9 would require Tier 1, 2, and 3 mackerel vessels on 
observed trips to move 15 nm following an excepted slippage event, 
which includes safety, mechanical failure, or excess catch of spiny 
dogfish. These vessels would also be required to terminate a fishing 
trip and immediately return to port following a non-excepted slippage 
event, which would be due to any reason other than those listed above. 
In addition to submitting a Released Catch Affidavit, vessels carrying 
an observer would also be required to report all slippage events 
through the vessel monitoring system daily catch report for mackerel 
and longfin squid.

Corrections

    This proposed rule also contains an additional regulation change 
that was mistakenly omitted in the 2015-2017 Atlantic mackerel, squid, 
and butterfish specifications final rule (80 FR 14870, March 20, 2015). 
This regulation change would prohibit all vessels with a valid mackerel 
permit from fishing for, possessing, transferring, receiving, or 
selling more than 20,000 lb (9.07 mt) of mackerel per trip or per day 
after 95 percent of the river herring and shad catch cap has been 
harvested. This change in the regulations was identified, described, 
and made available for public comment in the proposed rule for the 
2015-2017 Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish specifications (79 
FR 68202, November 14, 2014).

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the NMFS 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, 
subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    An IRFA was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA). The IRFA describes the economic impact this 
proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A summary of 
the analysis follows.

Description of the Reasons Why Action by the Agency Is Being Considered

    This action proposes management measures for the slippage 
consequences to better monitor catch of river herring and shad in the 
Atlantic mackerel fishery. The preamble to this proposed rule includes 
a complete description of the reasons why the Council and NMFS are 
considering this action and these are not repeated here.

Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, This Proposed Rule

    The purpose of this proposed action is to minimize slippage, which 
will improve observer data, and should in turn improve decision-making 
that uses observer data. Failure to implement the measures described in 
this proposed rule could result in biased observer data. The preamble 
to this proposed rule includes a complete description of the objectives 
of and legal basis for this action and these are not repeated here.

[[Page 28577]]

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

    The proposed alternative applies to mackerel limited access 
permits. Based on permit data for 2013, 150 separate vessels hold 
mackerel limited access permits, 114 entities own those vessels, and, 
based on current Small Business Administration (SBA) definitions, 107 
of these are small entities. Of the 107 small entities, 4 had no 
revenue in 2013 and those entities with no revenue are considered small 
entities for the purpose of this analysis. All of the entities that had 
revenue fell into the finfish or shellfish categories, and the SBA 
definitions for those categories for 2014 are $20.5 million for finfish 
fishing and $5.5 million for shellfish fishing. Of the entities with 
revenues, their average revenues in 2013 were $1,201,419. 70 had 
primary revenues from finfish fishing and 33 had their primary revenues 
from shellfish fishing.

Description of the Projected Reporting, Record-Keeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements of This Proposed Rule

    The proposed action contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This requirement has 
been submitted to OMB for approval under Control Number 0648-0679.
    Under the proposed action, all limited access mackerel vessels 
carrying an observer would be required to report all slippage events on 
the VMS mackerel and longfin squid daily catch report. This information 
collection is intended to improve monitoring the catch of river herring 
and shad in the Atlantic mackerel fishery. The burden estimates for 
these new requirements apply to all limited access mackerel vessels. In 
a given fishing year, NMFS estimates that these additionally reporting 
requirements will not cause any additional time or cost burden from 
that which was previously approved under OMB Control Number 0648-0679.
    Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed 
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of 
the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall 
have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to 
enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 
collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information, including through the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on 
these or any other aspects of the collection of information to the 
Regional Administrator (see ADDRESSES), and email to 
OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395-5806.
    Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, no person is 
required to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure 
to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements 
of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently 
valid OMB Control Number. All currently approved NOAA collections of 
information may be viewed at: http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

Federal Rules Which May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With This 
Proposed Rule

    This action contains no other compliance costs. It does not 
duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal law.

Description of Significant Alternatives to the Proposed Action Which 
Accomplish the Stated Objectives of Applicable Statues and Which 
Minimize Any Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities

    The proposed alternative should not have more than minimal impact 
on the affected small entities compared to recent operation of the 
fishery (2011-2013, and 2014 landings to date appear similar to 2013). 
First, the primary impact should only be that vessels will not slip 
catches before observers have a chance to observe/sample them, which 
should have almost no economic impact on vessels. Slippage for reasons 
besides safety, mechanical issues, and spiny dogfish are already 
prohibited, and this proposed action would require vessels to move 15 
nm before fishing again if a slippage for those excepted reasons occurs 
(vessels could not fish within 15 nm of the slippage event for the 
remainder of the trip). Total small entity mackerel revenues over 2011-
2013 averaged $2.0 million, for an average of approximately $19,000 per 
affected small entity (107), compared to their average revenues of 
$1,201,419 in 2013 as described above. Given the small relative value 
of mackerel for most affected entities, the infrequency of slippage, 
and given the consequence of excepted slippages is only to move 15 nm, 
it seems likely that the economic impacts should be minimal for 
affected small entities. This is especially true since only a small 
portion of trips are observed, and the measures only apply to observed 
trips.
    If slippages have been masking higher river herring and shad 
landings, it is possible that prohibiting slippages could lead to the 
mackerel fishery closing earlier (because of the river herring and shad 
cap) than it otherwise would if more slippages were occurring. However, 
given the very low mackerel catches in recent years (less than 20 
percent of the quota), it is more likely that catch increases might be 
limited rather than actually having decreased catches, so small 
entities should not be more than minimally impacted compared to recent 
fishery operations. In addition, if vessels are prohibited from 
targeting mackerel due to the cap, they will likely partially mitigate 
any foregone revenue by fishing for other species (e.g. squid, 
butterfish, herring, etc.).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: May 13, 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 648 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

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

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

0
2. In Sec.  648.11, paragraph (n)(3)(ii) is revised and paragraph 
(n)(3)(iii) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  648.11  At-sea sea sampler/observer coverage.

* * * * *
    (n) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (ii) If fish are released prior to being brought on board the 
vessel due to any of the exceptions in paragraphs (n)(3)(i)(A)-(C) of 
this section, the vessel operator must move at least 15 nm from the 
location of release before fishing again, and must stay at least 15 nm 
from the slippage event location for the remainder of the fishing trip. 
The vessel operator must also complete and sign a Released Catch 
Affidavit detailing the vessel name and permit number; the VTR serial 
number; where, when, and for what reason the catch was released; the 
estimated weight of each species brought on board (if only part of the 
tow was released) or released on that tow. A completed affidavit must 
be submitted to NMFS within 48 hr of the end of the trip. The vessel 
operator must also report a slippage event on the VMS

[[Page 28578]]

mackerel and longfin squid daily catch report.
    (iii) If fish are released prior to being brought on board the 
vessel due to any reason other than the exceptions in paragraphs 
(n)(3)(i)(A)-(C) of this section, the vessel operator must immediately 
terminate the trip and return to port. No fishing activity may occur 
during the return to port. The vessel operator must also complete and 
sign a Released Catch Affidavit detailing the vessel name and permit 
number; the VTR serial number; where, when, and for what reason the 
catch was released; the estimated weight of each species brought on 
board (if only part of the tow was released) or released on that tow. A 
completed affidavit must be submitted to NMFS within 48 hr of the end 
of the trip. The vessel operator must also report the slippage event on 
the VMS mackerel and longfin squid daily catch report.
* * * * *
0
3. In Sec.  648.14, paragraph (g)(2)(ii)(G) is added, paragraphs 
(g)(2)(vi) and (vii) are revised and paragraphs (g)(2)(viii), (ix), and 
(x) are added to read as follows:


Sec.  648.14  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (G) Fish for, possess, transfer, receive, or sell; or attempt to 
fish for, possess, transfer, receive, or sell; more than 20,000 lb 
(9.07 mt) of mackerel per trip; or land, or attempt to land more than 
20,000 lb (9.07 mt) of mackerel per day after 95 percent of the river 
herring and shad cap has been harvested, if the vessel holds a valid 
mackerel permit.
* * * * *
    (vi) Release fish from codend of the net, transfer fish to another 
vessel that is not carrying a NMFS-approved observer, or otherwise 
discard fish at sea before bringing the fish aboard and making it 
available to the observer for sampling, unless subject to one of the 
exceptions defined at Sec.  648.11(n)(3) if issued a Limited Access 
Atlantic mackerel permit, or a longfin squid/butterfish moratorium 
permit.
    (vii) Fail to move 15 nm, as specified at Sec.  648.11(n)(3)(ii).
    (viii) Fail to immediately return to port as specified at Sec.  
648.11(n)(3)(iii).
    (ix) Fail to complete, sign, and submit a Released Catch Affidavit 
if fish are released pursuant to the requirements at Sec.  
648.11(n)(3).
    (x) Fail to report a slippage event on the VMS mackerel and longfin 
squid daily catch report.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2015-12060 Filed 5-18-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P