Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; Exemption for Large U.S. Longline Vessels To Fish in Portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area, 51527-51530 [2015-20962]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS impact-neutral rollover of 371 Chinook salmon from July to August. As a result, 272 Chinook salmon were added to the August quota of 500 Chinook salmon, for an adjusted quota of 772 Chinook salmon. After consideration of Chinook salmon landings to date and the STT’s calculations, the RA determined that it was appropriate to adjust the August quota for the commercial salmon fishery in the Oregon KMZ. This action was taken to allow access to available Chinook salmon quota, without exceeding conservation impacts to Klamath River fall and California coastal Chinook salmon stocks. Inseason action to modify quotas and/or fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i). Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #21 occurred on August 5, 2015. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, CDFW, WDFW, and ODFW. All other restrictions and regulations remain in effect as announced for the 2015 ocean salmon fisheries and 2016 salmon fisheries opening prior to May 1, 2016 (80 FR 25611, May 5, 2015). The RA determined that the best available information indicated that Chinook salmon and halibut catch to date and fishery effort supported the above inseason actions recommended by the states of Washington and Oregon, and the treaty Indian tribes. The states manage the fisheries in state waters adjacent to the areas of the U.S. exclusive economic zone in accordance with these Federal actions; the tribes manage fisheries in areas described in the annual management measures (80 FR 25611, May 5, 2015). As provided by the inseason notice procedures of 50 CFR 660.411, actual notice of the described regulatory actions was given, prior to the time the action was effective, by telephone hotline numbers 206–526–6667 and 800–662–9825, and by U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners broadcasts on Channel 16 VHF–FM and 2182 kHz. Classification The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that good cause exists for this notification to be issued without affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) because such notification would be impracticable. As previously noted, actual notice of the regulatory actions was provided to fishers through telephone hotline and radio notification. These actions comply with the requirements of the annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (80 FR 25611, May 5, 2015), the West Coast Salmon Fishery VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 Management Plan (Salmon FMP), and regulations implementing the Salmon FMP, 50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment was impracticable because NMFS and the state agencies had insufficient time to provide for prior notice and the opportunity for public comment between the time Chinook salmon catch and effort assessments and projections were developed and fisheries impacts were calculated, and the time the fishery modifications had to be implemented in order to ensure that fisheries are managed based on the best available scientific information, ensuring that conservation objectives and ESA consultation standards are not exceeded. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), as a delay in effectiveness of these actions would allow fishing at levels inconsistent with the goals of the Salmon FMP and the current management measures. These actions are authorized by 50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411 and are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 20, 2015. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–20996 Filed 8–24–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 [Docket No. 150625552–5710–01] RIN 0648–BF22 Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; Exemption for Large U.S. Longline Vessels To Fish in Portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel Prohibited Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes to allow large federally permitted U.S. longline vessels to fish in certain areas of the Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) around Swains Island, Tutuila, and the Manua Islands. NMFS would continue to prohibit fishing in the LVPA by large SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 51527 purse seine vessels. The fishing requirements for the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument would remain unchanged. The intent of the proposed rule is to improve the viability of the American Samoa longline fishery and achieve optimum yield from the fishery while preventing overfishing, in accordance with National Standard 1. DATES: NMFS must receive comments by September 24, 2015. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2015–0080, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20150080, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818. 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. The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS prepared an environmental analysis that describes the potential impacts on the human environment that could result from the proposed rule. The environmental analysis and other supporting documents are available at www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIRO Sustainable Fisheries, 808–725–5176. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In 2002, the Council recommended establishing, and NMFS implemented, the LVPA around Swain’s, Tutuila, and the Manua Islands, and Rose Atoll. At the time, the Council and NMFS established the LVPA to prevent the potential for gear conflicts and catch competition between large and small fishing vessels. Such conflicts and competition could have led to reduced opportunities for sustained participation in the smallscale pelagic fisheries. The LVPA, which extends seaward approximately E:\FR\FM\25AUP1.SGM 25AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 30–50 nm offshore from the islands, restricts vessels 50 ft and longer from fishing for pelagic management unit species. You may read more about the establishment of the LVPA in the 2001 proposed rule (66 FR 39475, July 31, 2001) and 2002 final rule (67 FR 4369, January 30, 2002). The American Samoa pelagic fisheries have changed since 2002, and the conditions that led the Council and NMFS to establish the LVPA are no longer present. Only a few small longline vessels (just one active in 2014) VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 have been operating on a regular basis, and the large vessels (19 active in 2014) have faced declining catch per unit of effort (CPUE), increased costs, and greatly reduced revenues. The LVPA may be unnecessarily reducing the efficiency of the larger American Samoa longline vessels by displacing the fleet from a part of their historical fishing grounds. To address fishery conditions resulting from the LVPA, the Council recommended that NMFS allow federally-permitted U.S. longline vessels PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 50 ft and longer to fish in portions of the LVPA. Specifically, the proposed action would allow large U.S. vessels that hold a Federal American Samoa longline limited entry permit to fish within the LVPA seaward of 12 nm around Swains Island, Tutuila, and the Manua Islands (see Fig. 1). NMFS would continue to prohibit fishing in the LVPA by large purse seine vessels. The fishing requirements for the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument would also remain unchanged. E:\FR\FM\25AUP1.SGM 25AUP1 EP25AU15.002</GPH> 51528 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Proposed Rules The proposed action would allow fishing in an additional 16,817 nm2 of Federal waters, thereby reducing the total portion of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone around American Samoa that is now closed to large longline vessels from 25.5 percent to 11.3 percent. The proposed action is intended to improve the efficiency and economic viability of the American Samoa longline fleet, while ensuring that fishing by the longline and small vessel fleets remains sustainable on an ongoing basis. The proposed action would allow large longline vessels to distribute fishing effort over a larger area, which may reduce catch competition among the larger vessels and promote economic efficiency by reducing transit costs. The longline fishery targets albacore, so it does not compete with small-scale bottomfish fishermen or trollers, who target skipjack and yellowfin tunas and billfish. NMFS would continue to prohibit fishing by large longline vessels within the EEZ from 3–12 nm around the islands, thus maintaining noncompetitive fishing opportunities for the small-vessel longline fleet. The Council and NMFS will annually review the effects of the proposed action on catch rates, small vessel participation, and sustainable fisheries development initiatives. Any proposed changes would be subject to additional environmental review and opportunity for public review and comment. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the FEP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment. Regulatory Flexibility Act: Certification of Finding of No Significant Impact on Substantial Number of Small Entities The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for it are contained in the preamble to this proposed rule. The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) established the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas (LVPA) to separate large-vessel (50 feet or greater) VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 fishing activities from those of smaller vessels, and to prevent potential gear conflicts and catch competition. NMFS implemented the LVPA in 2002 (67 FR 4369; January 30, 2002), with minor modifications to the boundaries in 2012, related to the establishment of the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument (77 FR 34260; June 11, 2012). At the time that the LVPA was implemented, nearly 40 alia and other small vessels fished alongside 25 large vessels. The establishment of the LVPA prohibited fishing by all but two large vessels. The Council and NMFS allowed the two vessels to fish in the LVPA based on their fishing history. In recent years, far fewer small vessels operate within the LVPA and the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surrounding American Samoa. Meanwhile, the large longliners based in American Samoa struggle to maintain operating, with estimated fleet-wide revenue of $6.8 million (http://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/ wpacfin/as/Data/ECL_Charts/ ae3bmain.htm, accessed July 22, 2015) and some vessels reportedly operating at a loss. This proposed rule would provide economic relief to the American Samoa large longline vessel fleet, through an exemption to the prohibition from fishing within specific areas of the LVPA. The proposed action would allow the large longline vessels to fish over an additional 16,817 nm2 of Federal waters, thereby reducing the total area of the U.S. EEZ around American Samoa currently closed to large longliners from 25.5 percent to 11.3 percent. The proposed action would improve the efficiency and economic viability of the American Samoa longline fleet, while ensuring fishing by the longline and small vessel fleets remain sustainable on an ongoing basis. The Council and NMFS would annually review the effects of the proposed action on catch rates of all pelagic fishery participants, small vessel participation in pelagic fisheries, and sustainable fisheries development initiatives. The proposed action would directly affect operators of American Samoabased longline vessels with Class C or D permits. Based on available information, NMFS has determined that all affected entities are small entities under the SBA definition of a small entity, i.e., they are engaged in the business of fish harvesting, are independently owned or operated, are not dominant in their field of operation, and have gross annual receipts below $20.5 million (NAICS code: 114111). In 2013, NMFS issued 11 Class C permits and 26 Class D permits, with seven PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 51529 active Class C permits and 14 active Class D permits (http:// www.pifsc.noaa.gov/wpacfin/as/Data/ Pelagic/apel24main.htm and http:// www.pifsc.noaa.gov/wpacfin/as/Data/ Pelagic/apel25main.htm, accessed July 22, 2015). Therefore, NMFS estimates that this action would potentially affect up to 37 vessels directly. NMFS does not expect the rule to have disproportionate economic impacts between large and small entities directly affected by this rule, although the small vessels currently allowed to fish throughout the LVPA may be indirectly affected by the potential increase in the number of large longliners fishing within a portion of the LVPA. Furthermore, there would be disproportionate economic impacts among the universe of vessels based on gear, homeport, or vessel length. Even though this proposed action would apply to a substantial number of vessels, the implementation of this action will not result in significant adverse economic impacts to individual vessels. The proposed action does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with other Federal rules and is not expected to have significant impact on small entities (as discussed above), organizations, or government jurisdictions. As such, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. Executive Order 12866 This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 665 Administrative practice and procedure, American Samoa, Fisheries, Fishing, Guam, Hawaiian natives, Northern Mariana Islands, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: August 18, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS proposes to amend 50 CFR part 665 as follows: PART 665—FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 665 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. ■ 2. Revise § 665.818 to read as follows: § 665.818 Exemptions for American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas. (a) Exemption for historical participation. E:\FR\FM\25AUP1.SGM 25AUP1 51530 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS (1) An exemption will be issued to a person who currently owns a large vessel to use that vessel to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS in the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas, if the person seeking the exemption had been the owner of that vessel when it was registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit, and has made at least one landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS in American Samoa on or prior to November 13, 1997. (2) A landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS for the purpose of this paragraph must have been properly recorded on a NMFS Western Pacific Federal daily longline form that was submitted to NMFS, as required in § 665.14. (3) An exemption is valid only for a vessel that was registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit and landed western Pacific pelagic MUS in American Samoa on or prior to November 13, 1997, or for a replacement vessel of equal or smaller LOA than the vessel that was initially registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit on or prior to November 13, 1997. (4) An exemption is valid only for the vessel for which it is registered. An VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 exemption not registered for use with a particular vessel may not be used. (5) An exemption may not be transferred to another person. (6) If more than one person, e.g., a partnership or corporation, owned a large vessel when it was registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit and made at least one landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS in American Samoa on or prior to November 13, 1997, an exemption issued under this section will be issued to only one person. (b) Exemption for vessel size. Except as otherwise prohibited in Subpart I of this chapter, a vessel of any size that is registered for use with a valid American Samoa longline limited access permit is authorized to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS within the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas as defined in § 665.806(b), except that no large vessel as defined in § 665.12 of this subpart may be used to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS in the portions of the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas, as follows: (1) EEZ waters around Tutuila Island enclosed by straight lines connecting the following coordinates: PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 Point 1 2 3 4 5 1 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... S. lat. 14°01′42″ 14°01′42″ 14°34′31″ 14°34′31″ 14°02′47″ 14°01′42″ W. long. .... .... .... .... .... .... 171°02′36″ 170°20′22″ 170°20′22″ 171°03′10″ 171°03′10″ 171°02′36″ (2) EEZ waters around the Manua Islands enclosed by straight lines connecting the following coordinates: Point 1 2 3 4 1 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... S. lat. 13°57′16″ 13°57′16″ 14°28′28″ 14°28′28″ 13°57′16″ W. long. .... .... .... .... .... 169°53′7″ 169°12′45″ 169°12′45″ 169°53′37″ 169°53′37″ (3) EEZ waters around Swains Island enclosed by straight lines connecting the following coordinates: Point 1 2 3 4 1 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... S. lat. 10°51′ 10°51′ 11°16′ 11°16′ 10°51′ .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... W. long. 171°18′ 170°51′ 170°51′ 171°18′ 171°18′ [FR Doc. 2015–20962 Filed 8–24–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\25AUP1.SGM 25AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 164 (Tuesday, August 25, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 51527-51530]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-20962]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 665

[Docket No. 150625552-5710-01]
RIN 0648-BF22


Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; Exemption for Large U.S. 
Longline Vessels To Fish in Portions of the American Samoa Large Vessel 
Prohibited Area

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to allow large federally permitted U.S. longline 
vessels to fish in certain areas of the Large Vessel Prohibited Area 
(LVPA) around Swains Island, Tutuila, and the Manua Islands. NMFS would 
continue to prohibit fishing in the LVPA by large purse seine vessels. 
The fishing requirements for the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument 
would remain unchanged. The intent of the proposed rule is to improve 
the viability of the American Samoa longline fishery and achieve 
optimum yield from the fishery while preventing overfishing, in 
accordance with National Standard 1.

DATES: NMFS must receive comments by September 24, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2015-0080, by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0080, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, 
Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp 
Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.
    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.
    The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS 
prepared an environmental analysis that describes the potential impacts 
on the human environment that could result from the proposed rule. The 
environmental analysis and other supporting documents are available at 
www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIRO Sustainable 
Fisheries, 808-725-5176.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In 2002, the Council recommended 
establishing, and NMFS implemented, the LVPA around Swain's, Tutuila, 
and the Manua Islands, and Rose Atoll. At the time, the Council and 
NMFS established the LVPA to prevent the potential for gear conflicts 
and catch competition between large and small fishing vessels. Such 
conflicts and competition could have led to reduced opportunities for 
sustained participation in the small-scale pelagic fisheries. The LVPA, 
which extends seaward approximately

[[Page 51528]]

30-50 nm offshore from the islands, restricts vessels 50 ft and longer 
from fishing for pelagic management unit species. You may read more 
about the establishment of the LVPA in the 2001 proposed rule (66 FR 
39475, July 31, 2001) and 2002 final rule (67 FR 4369, January 30, 
2002).
    The American Samoa pelagic fisheries have changed since 2002, and 
the conditions that led the Council and NMFS to establish the LVPA are 
no longer present. Only a few small longline vessels (just one active 
in 2014) have been operating on a regular basis, and the large vessels 
(19 active in 2014) have faced declining catch per unit of effort 
(CPUE), increased costs, and greatly reduced revenues. The LVPA may be 
unnecessarily reducing the efficiency of the larger American Samoa 
longline vessels by displacing the fleet from a part of their 
historical fishing grounds.
    To address fishery conditions resulting from the LVPA, the Council 
recommended that NMFS allow federally-permitted U.S. longline vessels 
50 ft and longer to fish in portions of the LVPA. Specifically, the 
proposed action would allow large U.S. vessels that hold a Federal 
American Samoa longline limited entry permit to fish within the LVPA 
seaward of 12 nm around Swains Island, Tutuila, and the Manua Islands 
(see Fig. 1). NMFS would continue to prohibit fishing in the LVPA by 
large purse seine vessels. The fishing requirements for the Rose Atoll 
Marine National Monument would also remain unchanged.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25AU15.002


[[Page 51529]]


    The proposed action would allow fishing in an additional 16,817 
nm\2\ of Federal waters, thereby reducing the total portion of the U.S. 
Exclusive Economic Zone around American Samoa that is now closed to 
large longline vessels from 25.5 percent to 11.3 percent. The proposed 
action is intended to improve the efficiency and economic viability of 
the American Samoa longline fleet, while ensuring that fishing by the 
longline and small vessel fleets remains sustainable on an ongoing 
basis. The proposed action would allow large longline vessels to 
distribute fishing effort over a larger area, which may reduce catch 
competition among the larger vessels and promote economic efficiency by 
reducing transit costs. The longline fishery targets albacore, so it 
does not compete with small-scale bottomfish fishermen or trollers, who 
target skipjack and yellowfin tunas and billfish. NMFS would continue 
to prohibit fishing by large longline vessels within the EEZ from 3-12 
nm around the islands, thus maintaining non-competitive fishing 
opportunities for the small-vessel longline fleet.
    The Council and NMFS will annually review the effects of the 
proposed action on catch rates, small vessel participation, and 
sustainable fisheries development initiatives. Any proposed changes 
would be subject to additional environmental review and opportunity for 
public review and comment.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this 
proposed rule is consistent with the FEP, other provisions of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.

Regulatory Flexibility Act: Certification of Finding of No Significant 
Impact on Substantial Number of Small Entities

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, and 
the legal basis for it are contained in the preamble to this proposed 
rule.
    The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) 
established the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas (LVPA) to 
separate large-vessel (50 feet or greater) fishing activities from 
those of smaller vessels, and to prevent potential gear conflicts and 
catch competition. NMFS implemented the LVPA in 2002 (67 FR 4369; 
January 30, 2002), with minor modifications to the boundaries in 2012, 
related to the establishment of the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument 
(77 FR 34260; June 11, 2012).
    At the time that the LVPA was implemented, nearly 40 alia and other 
small vessels fished alongside 25 large vessels. The establishment of 
the LVPA prohibited fishing by all but two large vessels. The Council 
and NMFS allowed the two vessels to fish in the LVPA based on their 
fishing history. In recent years, far fewer small vessels operate 
within the LVPA and the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surrounding 
American Samoa. Meanwhile, the large longliners based in American Samoa 
struggle to maintain operating, with estimated fleet-wide revenue of 
$6.8 million (http://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/wpacfin/as/Data/ECL_Charts/ae3bmain.htm, accessed July 22, 2015) and some vessels reportedly 
operating at a loss.
    This proposed rule would provide economic relief to the American 
Samoa large longline vessel fleet, through an exemption to the 
prohibition from fishing within specific areas of the LVPA. The 
proposed action would allow the large longline vessels to fish over an 
additional 16,817 nm\2\ of Federal waters, thereby reducing the total 
area of the U.S. EEZ around American Samoa currently closed to large 
longliners from 25.5 percent to 11.3 percent. The proposed action would 
improve the efficiency and economic viability of the American Samoa 
longline fleet, while ensuring fishing by the longline and small vessel 
fleets remain sustainable on an ongoing basis. The Council and NMFS 
would annually review the effects of the proposed action on catch rates 
of all pelagic fishery participants, small vessel participation in 
pelagic fisheries, and sustainable fisheries development initiatives.
    The proposed action would directly affect operators of American 
Samoa-based longline vessels with Class C or D permits. Based on 
available information, NMFS has determined that all affected entities 
are small entities under the SBA definition of a small entity, i.e., 
they are engaged in the business of fish harvesting, are independently 
owned or operated, are not dominant in their field of operation, and 
have gross annual receipts below $20.5 million (NAICS code: 114111). In 
2013, NMFS issued 11 Class C permits and 26 Class D permits, with seven 
active Class C permits and 14 active Class D permits (http://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/wpacfin/as/Data/Pelagic/apel24main.htm and http://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/wpacfin/as/Data/Pelagic/apel25main.htm, accessed 
July 22, 2015). Therefore, NMFS estimates that this action would 
potentially affect up to 37 vessels directly.
    NMFS does not expect the rule to have disproportionate economic 
impacts between large and small entities directly affected by this 
rule, although the small vessels currently allowed to fish throughout 
the LVPA may be indirectly affected by the potential increase in the 
number of large longliners fishing within a portion of the LVPA. 
Furthermore, there would be disproportionate economic impacts among the 
universe of vessels based on gear, homeport, or vessel length.
    Even though this proposed action would apply to a substantial 
number of vessels, the implementation of this action will not result in 
significant adverse economic impacts to individual vessels. The 
proposed action does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with other 
Federal rules and is not expected to have significant impact on small 
entities (as discussed above), organizations, or government 
jurisdictions. As such, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is 
not required and none has been prepared.

Executive Order 12866

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

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 665

    Administrative practice and procedure, American Samoa, Fisheries, 
Fishing, Guam, Hawaiian natives, Northern Mariana Islands, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: August 18, 2015.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS proposes to amend 50 
CFR part 665 as follows:

PART 665--FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC

0
1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 665 continues to read as 
follows:

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

0
2. Revise Sec.  665.818 to read as follows:


Sec.  665.818  Exemptions for American Samoa large vessel prohibited 
areas.

    (a) Exemption for historical participation.

[[Page 51530]]

    (1) An exemption will be issued to a person who currently owns a 
large vessel to use that vessel to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS 
in the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas, if the person 
seeking the exemption had been the owner of that vessel when it was 
registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit, and 
has made at least one landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS in 
American Samoa on or prior to November 13, 1997.
    (2) A landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS for the purpose of 
this paragraph must have been properly recorded on a NMFS Western 
Pacific Federal daily longline form that was submitted to NMFS, as 
required in Sec.  665.14.
    (3) An exemption is valid only for a vessel that was registered for 
use with a Western Pacific general longline permit and landed western 
Pacific pelagic MUS in American Samoa on or prior to November 13, 1997, 
or for a replacement vessel of equal or smaller LOA than the vessel 
that was initially registered for use with a Western Pacific general 
longline permit on or prior to November 13, 1997.
    (4) An exemption is valid only for the vessel for which it is 
registered. An exemption not registered for use with a particular 
vessel may not be used.
    (5) An exemption may not be transferred to another person.
    (6) If more than one person, e.g., a partnership or corporation, 
owned a large vessel when it was registered for use with a Western 
Pacific general longline permit and made at least one landing of 
western Pacific pelagic MUS in American Samoa on or prior to November 
13, 1997, an exemption issued under this section will be issued to only 
one person.
    (b) Exemption for vessel size. Except as otherwise prohibited in 
Subpart I of this chapter, a vessel of any size that is registered for 
use with a valid American Samoa longline limited access permit is 
authorized to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS within the American 
Samoa large vessel prohibited areas as defined in Sec.  665.806(b), 
except that no large vessel as defined in Sec.  665.12 of this subpart 
may be used to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS in the portions of 
the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas, as follows:
    (1) EEZ waters around Tutuila Island enclosed by straight lines 
connecting the following coordinates:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                     S. lat.             W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  14[deg]01'42''.....  171[deg]02'36''
2..............................  14[deg]01'42''.....  170[deg]20'22''
3..............................  14[deg]34'31''.....  170[deg]20'22''
4..............................  14[deg]34'31''.....  171[deg]03'10''
5..............................  14[deg]02'47''.....  171[deg]03'10''
1..............................  14[deg]01'42''.....  171[deg]02'36''
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) EEZ waters around the Manua Islands enclosed by straight lines 
connecting the following coordinates:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                     S. lat.             W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  13[deg]57'16''.....  169[deg]53'7''
2..............................  13[deg]57'16''.....  169[deg]12'45''
3..............................  14[deg]28'28''.....  169[deg]12'45''
4..............................  14[deg]28'28''.....  169[deg]53'37''
1..............................  13[deg]57'16''.....  169[deg]53'37''
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) EEZ waters around Swains Island enclosed by straight lines 
connecting the following coordinates:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                     S. lat.             W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  10[deg]51'.........  171[deg]18'
2..............................  10[deg]51'.........  170[deg]51'
3..............................  11[deg]16'.........  170[deg]51'
4..............................  11[deg]16'.........  171[deg]18'
1..............................  10[deg]51'.........  171[deg]18'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[FR Doc. 2015-20962 Filed 8-24-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P