Fisheries off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; Revision to Prohibited Species Regulations, 46519-46520 [2015-19157]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 150 / Wednesday, August 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 150112035–5658–02] RIN 0648–BE80 Fisheries off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; Revision to Prohibited Species Regulations National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS is issuing regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to revise the prohibited species policy for highly migratory species off the U.S. West Coast. This action is necessary to accurately reflect the intent of the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species. DATES: The final rule is effective August 5, 2015. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) and other supporting documents are available via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA– NMFS–2015–0006, or contact the Regional Administrator, William W. Stelle, Jr., NMFS West Coast Region, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Bldg 1, Seattle, WA 98115–0070, or RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@ noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Taylor Debevec, NMFS, 562–980–4066. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Lhorne on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: Background On June 4, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (80 FR 31884) to resolve a discrepancy between the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS) 1 and the regulations that implemented the FMP.2 This action was identified at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) meeting in November 2014 and was discussed with broad support. The public comment period was open until July 19, 2015. No changes to the proposed rule were made in response to 1 http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/ HMS-FMP-Jul11.pdf. 2 Title 50, part 660, subpart K. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:23 Aug 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 comments. This final rule is implemented under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq., by regulations at 50 CFR part 660. This final rule codifies two exceptions to the general prohibition on retention of prohibited species from the HMS FMP that were not included in the implementing regulations for the FMP. Species for which retention is, and will continue to be, prohibited are identified in the definition section, § 660.702, under ‘‘Prohibited species.’’ This revision to the definition of ‘‘prohibited species’’ makes the language at § 660.711(a) redundant and, therefore, it is deleted. Finally, the language at § 660.705(e) clearly states the prohibition of targeting these species while fishing for HMS, as well as explicitly identifies all of the exceptions to the retention prohibition. These revisions make the regulations for prohibited species consistent with the policy and analysis of the HMS FMP. The proposed rule contains additional background information, including information on the history of the HMS FMP, the discrepancy between it and the regulations, and the need to rectify this discrepancy. Public Comments and Responses NMFS received one written public comment. The commenter expressed several concerns regarding more than one aspect of the rule, some being very similar; therefore, NMFS is responding to the common themes/topics. The responses are summarized below. Specific issues that were beyond the scope of this rulemaking are not addressed here. Issue 1: The current HMS regulations already convey the prohibited species policy of the HMS FMP. Response: Three exceptions to the prohibited species policy were outlined in the FMP, but only one is in the regulations. Since two of the exceptions are missing, the regulations do not fully convey the intent of the FMP. Issue 2: The proposed revisions to the regulations would delete important aspects of the policy and do not make sense within the existing flow and outline of the subpart. Response: Although parts of the regulations (not the policy) are deleted, they are administrative in nature. The revisions remove nothing of substance, but rather reorganize the language for clarity and add the missing exceptions. Issue 3: The exceptions proposed for addition to the regulations have not been analyzed and are not consistent with the management plan. PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 46519 Response: These exceptions, which were written in the HMS FMP, were analyzed in the 2003 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the FMP. The EIS found that the prohibited species policy, including the exceptions, would ensure that neither the rare sharks nor the strict management of halibut and salmon are compromised by HMS fisheries. Issue 4: This action makes catching prohibited species legal. Response: The edited regulations continue to generally prohibit the retention of prohibited species, but add two limited circumstances in which they are allowed to be retained, as set forth in the FMP. Classification The Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, determined that this regulatory amendment under the HMS FMP is necessary for the conservation and management of the fishery, and that it is consistent with the MSA and other applicable laws. Administrative Procedure Act (APA) The Assistant Administrator 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 action revises the definition of prohibited species and codifies two exceptions to the general prohibition on retention of prohibited species. This action would benefit regulated entities by ensuring clarity in the definition of prohibited species, and consistency of the exceptions to the general prohibition on retention of prohibited species with the policy outlined in the HMS FMP, which allows for the retention of salmon and Pacific halibut, and basking, megamouth, and great white sharks under certain limited conditions. Executive Order 12866 This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not being repeated here. No comments were received regarding the certification. As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and one was not prepared. E:\FR\FM\05AUR1.SGM 05AUR1 46520 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 150 / Wednesday, August 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. subpart E of this Title, and other applicable law. * * * * * Dated: July 30, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. § 660.711 [Amended] 4. In § 660.711, remove paragraph (a) and redesignate paragraphs (b) through (d) as (a) through (c). ■ For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: [FR Doc. 2015–19157 Filed 8–4–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ Classification Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. 2. In § 660.702, revise the definition for ‘‘Prohibited species’’ to read as follows: 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 141021887–5172–02] ■ RIN 0648–XE072 § 660.702 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Squids in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area Definitions. * * * * * Prohibited species means any highly migratory species for which quotas or catch limits under the FMP have been achieved and the fishery closed; salmon; great white shark; basking shark; megamouth shark; and Pacific halibut. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 660.705, revise paragraph (e) to read as follows: § 660.705 Prohibitions. * * * * (e) When fishing for HMS, fail to return a prohibited species to the sea immediately with a minimum of injury, except under the following circumstances: (1) Any prohibited species may be retained for examination by an authorized observer or to return tagged fish as specified by the tagging agency. (2) Salmon may be retained if harvested in accordance with subpart H of this part, and other applicable law. (3) Great white sharks, basking sharks, and megamouth sharks may be retained if incidentally caught and subsequently sold or donated to a recognized scientific or educational organization for research or display purposes. (4) Pacific halibut may be retained if harvested in accordance with part 300, Lhorne on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES * VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:23 Aug 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 The 2015 initial total allowable catch (TAC) for squids in the BSAI is 340 metric tons as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish of the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(2), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2015 initial TAC of squids in the BSAI has been reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that squids caught in the BSAI be treated as prohibited species in accordance with § 679.21(b). National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is prohibiting retention of squids in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary because the 2015 initial total allowable catch of squids in the BSAI has been reached. DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), July 30, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (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. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 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 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 prohibiting the retention of squids in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of July 29, 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 § 679.21 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: July 30, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–19094 Filed 7–30–15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\05AUR1.SGM 05AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 150 (Wednesday, August 5, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 46519-46520]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-19157]



[[Page 46519]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 150112035-5658-02]
RIN 0648-BE80


Fisheries off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Species Fishery 
Management Plan; Revision to Prohibited Species Regulations

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is issuing regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to revise the prohibited species 
policy for highly migratory species off the U.S. West Coast. This 
action is necessary to accurately reflect the intent of the Fishery 
Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory 
Species.

DATES: The final rule is effective August 5, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) and other 
supporting documents are available via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA-NMFS-2015-0006, or contact the 
Regional Administrator, William W. Stelle, Jr., NMFS West Coast Region, 
7600 Sand Point Way NE., Bldg 1, Seattle, WA 98115-0070, or 
RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Taylor Debevec, NMFS, 562-980-4066.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On June 4, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) 
published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (80 FR 31884) to 
resolve a discrepancy between the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for 
U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS) \1\ and 
the regulations that implemented the FMP.\2\ This action was identified 
at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) meeting in November 
2014 and was discussed with broad support. The public comment period 
was open until July 19, 2015. No changes to the proposed rule were made 
in response to comments. This final rule is implemented under the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), 16 
U.S.C. 1801, et seq., by regulations at 50 CFR part 660.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/HMS-FMP-Jul11.pdf.
    \2\ Title 50, part 660, subpart K.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This final rule codifies two exceptions to the general prohibition 
on retention of prohibited species from the HMS FMP that were not 
included in the implementing regulations for the FMP. Species for which 
retention is, and will continue to be, prohibited are identified in the 
definition section, Sec.  660.702, under ``Prohibited species.'' This 
revision to the definition of ``prohibited species'' makes the language 
at Sec.  660.711(a) redundant and, therefore, it is deleted. Finally, 
the language at Sec.  660.705(e) clearly states the prohibition of 
targeting these species while fishing for HMS, as well as explicitly 
identifies all of the exceptions to the retention prohibition. These 
revisions make the regulations for prohibited species consistent with 
the policy and analysis of the HMS FMP.
    The proposed rule contains additional background information, 
including information on the history of the HMS FMP, the discrepancy 
between it and the regulations, and the need to rectify this 
discrepancy.

Public Comments and Responses

    NMFS received one written public comment. The commenter expressed 
several concerns regarding more than one aspect of the rule, some being 
very similar; therefore, NMFS is responding to the common themes/
topics. The responses are summarized below. Specific issues that were 
beyond the scope of this rulemaking are not addressed here.
    Issue 1: The current HMS regulations already convey the prohibited 
species policy of the HMS FMP.
    Response: Three exceptions to the prohibited species policy were 
outlined in the FMP, but only one is in the regulations. Since two of 
the exceptions are missing, the regulations do not fully convey the 
intent of the FMP.
    Issue 2: The proposed revisions to the regulations would delete 
important aspects of the policy and do not make sense within the 
existing flow and outline of the subpart.
    Response: Although parts of the regulations (not the policy) are 
deleted, they are administrative in nature. The revisions remove 
nothing of substance, but rather reorganize the language for clarity 
and add the missing exceptions.
    Issue 3: The exceptions proposed for addition to the regulations 
have not been analyzed and are not consistent with the management plan.
    Response: These exceptions, which were written in the HMS FMP, were 
analyzed in the 2003 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the FMP. 
The EIS found that the prohibited species policy, including the 
exceptions, would ensure that neither the rare sharks nor the strict 
management of halibut and salmon are compromised by HMS fisheries.
    Issue 4: This action makes catching prohibited species legal.
    Response: The edited regulations continue to generally prohibit the 
retention of prohibited species, but add two limited circumstances in 
which they are allowed to be retained, as set forth in the FMP.

Classification

    The Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, determined that this 
regulatory amendment under the HMS FMP is necessary for the 
conservation and management of the fishery, and that it is consistent 
with the MSA and other applicable laws.

Administrative Procedure Act (APA)

    The Assistant Administrator 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 action revises the definition of prohibited species and codifies 
two exceptions to the general prohibition on retention of prohibited 
species. This action would benefit regulated entities by ensuring 
clarity in the definition of prohibited species, and consistency of the 
exceptions to the general prohibition on retention of prohibited 
species with the policy outlined in the HMS FMP, which allows for the 
retention of salmon and Pacific halibut, and basking, megamouth, and 
great white sharks under certain limited conditions.

Executive Order 12866

    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the 
proposed rule and is not being repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding the certification. As a result, a final regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required and one was not prepared.

[[Page 46520]]

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: July 30, 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 660 is amended 
as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 
U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

0
2. In Sec.  660.702, revise the definition for ``Prohibited species'' 
to read as follows:


Sec.  660.702  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Prohibited species means any highly migratory species for which 
quotas or catch limits under the FMP have been achieved and the fishery 
closed; salmon; great white shark; basking shark; megamouth shark; and 
Pacific halibut.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  660.705, revise paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  660.705  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (e) When fishing for HMS, fail to return a prohibited species to 
the sea immediately with a minimum of injury, except under the 
following circumstances:
    (1) Any prohibited species may be retained for examination by an 
authorized observer or to return tagged fish as specified by the 
tagging agency.
    (2) Salmon may be retained if harvested in accordance with subpart 
H of this part, and other applicable law.
    (3) Great white sharks, basking sharks, and megamouth sharks may be 
retained if incidentally caught and subsequently sold or donated to a 
recognized scientific or educational organization for research or 
display purposes.
    (4) Pacific halibut may be retained if harvested in accordance with 
part 300, subpart E of this Title, and other applicable law.
* * * * *


Sec.  660.711  [Amended]

0
4. In Sec.  660.711, remove paragraph (a) and redesignate paragraphs 
(b) through (d) as (a) through (c).

[FR Doc. 2015-19157 Filed 8-4-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P