Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Blueline Tilefish Fishery; Secretarial Emergency Action, 74712-74714 [2015-30320]

Download as PDF 74712 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 229 / Monday, November 30, 2015 / Rules and Regulations Amendment 15 modifies stock status determination criteria to match the biomass-based output of the stock synthesis model. These revisions to the penaeid shrimp stock status criteria are expected to cause little to no change to the biological, physical, or ecological environments because these changes are only to the stock status reference points and therefore will not have a direct impact on the actual harvest of penaeid shrimp. 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. No substantive comments were received on either Amendment 15 or the proposed rule. One comment was received from a Federal agency that stated that it had no comment on the proposed rule or on Amendment 15. Classification The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS has determined that this final rule is consistent with Amendment 15, the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for this rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. In addition, no new reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements are introduced by this final rule. 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 rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding the certification and NMFS has not received any new information that would affect its determination. As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none was prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf of Mexico, Shrimp. 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 150311250–5474–01] RIN 0648–BE97 § 622.60 Adjustment of management measures. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Blueline Tilefish Fishery; Secretarial Emergency Action AGENCY: 2. In § 622.60, revise paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows: * * * * (a) Gulf penaeid shrimp. For a species or species group: Reporting and monitoring requirements, permitting requirements, size limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings, quotas (including a quota of zero), MSY (or proxy), OY, management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, allowable biological catch (ABC) and ABC control rules, rebuilding plans, restrictions relative to conditions of harvested shrimp (maintaining shrimp in whole condition, use as bait), target effort and fishing mortality reduction levels, bycatch reduction criteria, BRD certification and decertification criteria, BRD testing protocol and certified BRD specifications. (b) Gulf royal red shrimp. Reporting and monitoring requirements, permitting requirements, size limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings, annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), quotas (including a quota of zero), accountability measures (AMs), MSY (or proxy), OY, management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, ABC and ABC control rules, rebuilding plans, and restrictions relative to conditions of harvested shrimp (maintaining shrimp in whole condition, use as bait). BILLING CODE 3510–22–P For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended as follows: 15:17 Nov 27, 2015 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ■ [FR Doc. 2015–30214 Filed 11–27–15; 8:45 am] Dated: November 23, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. VerDate Sep<11>2014 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE * Comments and Responses jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; emergency action extended. This rule extends emergency permitting and possession limit regulations for the blueline tilefish fishery in waters north of the Virginia/ North Carolina border that were implemented on June 4, 2015. This extension is necessary to continue to constrain fishing effort on the blueline tilefish stock while a long-term management plan is developed. The rule is expected to reduce fishing mortality and help ensure the long-term sustainability of the stock. DATES: The expiration date of the emergency rule published on June 4, 2016 (80 FR 31864) is extended through June 3, 2016. ADDRESSES: Copies the Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Impact Review (EA/RIR) and other supporting documents for this emergency action are available from John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA, 01930. The EA/RIR is also accessible via the Internet at: http:// www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tobey Curtis, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9273. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background This temporary final rule extends emergency permitting and possession limit regulations for the blueline tilefish (Caulolatilus microps) fishery in the Greater Atlantic Region (i.e., Federal waters north of the latitude of the Virginia/North Carolina border) as described in the original emergency action that published on June 4, 2015 (80 FR 31864). The initial temporary rule was implemented in response to a request for emergency action from the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. That temporary final rule E:\FR\FM\30NOR1.SGM 30NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 229 / Monday, November 30, 2015 / Rules and Regulations jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES included detailed information on the background, purpose, need, and justification to implement these emergency management measures, and that information is not repeated here. Section 305(c) of the MagnusonStevens Act allows for the extension of an emergency action, which is otherwise effective for up to 180 days, for up to another 186 days, provided that certain criteria are met: (1) The public has had an opportunity to comment on the emergency regulation; and (2) in the case of a Council recommendation for emergency action, the Council is actively developing an fishery management plan (FMP) amendment or regulations to address the emergency on a permanent basis. NMFS accepted public comment on the initial emergency measures in the final rule through July 6, 2015; comments and responses are summarized below. The Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils are both working on long-term management measures for blueline tilefish along the Atlantic coast. The Mid-Atlantic Council has initiated an amendment to its Golden Tilefish FMP to add blueline tilefish fishery management measures to that FMP and manage the stock within its jurisdiction. Final action on that amendment is expected to occur at the Council’s February 2016 meeting so that rulemaking may be completed before this temporary extension expires. This extension does not change the measures already in place. NMFS is not accepting additional public comment on this extension, and has determined that all the necessary criteria have been met and, therefore, is extending these emergency measures. Extended Emergency Management Measures This temporary final rule extends the following management measures for blueline tilefish in the Greater Atlantic Region: 1. A requirement for commercial or charter/party vessels landing blueline tilefish in the Northeast region (i.e., north of the latitude of the Virginia/ North Carolina border: 36°33′01.0″ N. latitude) to hold a valid Northeast open access golden tilefish commercial or charter/party vessel permit, which are issued by the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office; 2. A commercial possession limit of 300 lb (136 kg) whole weight per trip; and 3. A recreational possession limit of seven blueline tilefish per person, per trip. None of these management measures modify the existing possession VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:17 Nov 27, 2015 Jkt 238001 regulations for golden tilefish, or any other species. In addition to the efforts being made by the Mid-Atlantic Council, the South Atlantic Council is considering revisions to its Snapper Grouper FMP to modify blueline tilefish management measures that may or may not affect the Mid-Atlantic Council’s management of this stock. Questions remain on potential stock structure of the species throughout its distribution and there is considerable uncertainty in the data and projections in the most recent benchmark stock assessment that are currently being explored. It is expected that the long-term management of blueline tilefish fisheries will be improved once these scientific and policy issues are resolved. These extended emergency measures will continue to protect blueline tilefish in the Greater Atlantic Region while allowing the Councils more time to finalize their work. Comments and Responses We received numerous public comments prior to implementation of the emergency action, primarily from fishermen who were opposed to overlyrestrictive possession limits on blueline tilefish. Overall, the concerns raised in these comments were addressed by the management measures that we implemented. We received three comments during the original rule’s comment period, and these are summarized below. Comment 1: One comment was from a North Carolina-based commercial fishing organization. The commenter suggested that the blueline tilefish possession limits implemented by the rule disproportionately impacted commercial fishing vessels while not equally restraining recreational fishing vessels. Response: According to the analyses in the EA (see ADDRESSES), the possession limits implemented by NMFS were expected to have minor negative impacts on both commercial and recreational fishing vessels. In recent years, only 18 percent of commercial trips landed more than 500 lb (227 kg) of blueline tilefish, and in 2014, 94 percent of landings were derived from only six vessels (out of 81 active vessels). Therefore, the commercial possession limit of 300 lb (136 kg) was not expected to impact the vast majority of vessels in the fishery, and by design, reduces incentives to target blueline tilefish. Similarly, in the recreational fishery in recent years, only 12 percent of charter/party trips landed more than seven fish per person. Therefore, impacts on the overall PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 74713 commercial and recreational fisheries were projected to be comparable, with little impact on the vast majority of trips. Comment 2: One comment from a New Jersey recreational fisherman opposed the recreational possession limit, stating it was too restrictive. Response: As noted in the response above, a minority of recreational trips are likely to be affected by the possession limit of seven fish per person. The objective of the emergency rule was to prevent further expansion of catch on this species, and we believe the seven-fish possession limit to be appropriate, and consistent with the recommendations of the Council. Additionally, the blueline tilefish possession limits do not impact the possession limits of golden tilefish or other species. Comment 3: One comment was from a recreational fisherman who was opposed to a possession limit of one fish per vessel (Alternative 2 in the EA). Response: NMFS agrees that the possession limits under Alternative 2 would have been more restrictive, and likely to result in greater negative impacts on a higher proportion of fishery participants. NMFS chose to implement the possession limit of seven fish per person to help constrain fishing effort, while still allowing the fishery to continue. Classification The Regional Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has determined that the emergency measures extended by this temporary rule are necessary for the conservation and management of the blueline tilefish fishery and are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness of this action. Because the extension of these emergency measures contains regulations already in place, it is contrary to public interest to allow them to expire. As described more fully in the original emergency action (80 FR 31864; June 4, 2015), the reasons justifying promulgation of the rule on an emergency basis make a delay in effectiveness contrary to the public interest. The possession limits implemented for recreational and commercial blueline tilefish vessels fishing in Federal waters north of the Virgina/North Carolina border are needed to constrain fishing mortality on the stock that would otherwise be unregulated. To provide protection for blueline tilefish, and to allow additional E:\FR\FM\30NOR1.SGM 30NOR1 74714 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 229 / Monday, November 30, 2015 / Rules and Regulations jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES time for the Council to develop an appropriate long-term solution for the management of this stock, expediting these emergency measures is necessary. This action is being taken pursuant to the emergency provision of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and is exempt from OMB review. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:17 Nov 27, 2015 Jkt 238001 This rule is exempt from the otherwise applicable requirement of the Regulatory Flexibility Act to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis because the rule is issued without opportunity for prior public comment. Dated: November 24, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–30320 Filed 11–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\30NOR1.SGM 30NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 229 (Monday, November 30, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 74712-74714]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-30320]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 150311250-5474-01]
RIN 0648-BE97


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Blueline Tilefish 
Fishery; Secretarial Emergency Action

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; emergency action extended.

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

SUMMARY: This rule extends emergency permitting and possession limit 
regulations for the blueline tilefish fishery in waters north of the 
Virginia/North Carolina border that were implemented on June 4, 2015. 
This extension is necessary to continue to constrain fishing effort on 
the blueline tilefish stock while a long-term management plan is 
developed. The rule is expected to reduce fishing mortality and help 
ensure the long-term sustainability of the stock.

DATES: The expiration date of the emergency rule published on June 4, 
2016 (80 FR 31864) is extended through June 3, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Copies the Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Impact 
Review (EA/RIR) and other supporting documents for this emergency 
action are available from John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, 
NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic 
Drive, Gloucester, MA, 01930. The EA/RIR is also accessible via the 
Internet at: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tobey Curtis, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9273.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    This temporary final rule extends emergency permitting and 
possession limit regulations for the blueline tilefish (Caulolatilus 
microps) fishery in the Greater Atlantic Region (i.e., Federal waters 
north of the latitude of the Virginia/North Carolina border) as 
described in the original emergency action that published on June 4, 
2015 (80 FR 31864). The initial temporary rule was implemented in 
response to a request for emergency action from the Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council. That temporary final rule

[[Page 74713]]

included detailed information on the background, purpose, need, and 
justification to implement these emergency management measures, and 
that information is not repeated here.
    Section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act allows for the extension 
of an emergency action, which is otherwise effective for up to 180 
days, for up to another 186 days, provided that certain criteria are 
met: (1) The public has had an opportunity to comment on the emergency 
regulation; and (2) in the case of a Council recommendation for 
emergency action, the Council is actively developing an fishery 
management plan (FMP) amendment or regulations to address the emergency 
on a permanent basis. NMFS accepted public comment on the initial 
emergency measures in the final rule through July 6, 2015; comments and 
responses are summarized below. The Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic 
Fishery Management Councils are both working on long-term management 
measures for blueline tilefish along the Atlantic coast. The Mid-
Atlantic Council has initiated an amendment to its Golden Tilefish FMP 
to add blueline tilefish fishery management measures to that FMP and 
manage the stock within its jurisdiction. Final action on that 
amendment is expected to occur at the Council's February 2016 meeting 
so that rulemaking may be completed before this temporary extension 
expires. This extension does not change the measures already in place. 
NMFS is not accepting additional public comment on this extension, and 
has determined that all the necessary criteria have been met and, 
therefore, is extending these emergency measures.

Extended Emergency Management Measures

    This temporary final rule extends the following management measures 
for blueline tilefish in the Greater Atlantic Region:
    1. A requirement for commercial or charter/party vessels landing 
blueline tilefish in the Northeast region (i.e., north of the latitude 
of the Virginia/North Carolina border: 36[deg]33'01.0'' N. latitude) to 
hold a valid Northeast open access golden tilefish commercial or 
charter/party vessel permit, which are issued by the Greater Atlantic 
Regional Fisheries Office;
    2. A commercial possession limit of 300 lb (136 kg) whole weight 
per trip; and
    3. A recreational possession limit of seven blueline tilefish per 
person, per trip.
    None of these management measures modify the existing possession 
regulations for golden tilefish, or any other species.
    In addition to the efforts being made by the Mid-Atlantic Council, 
the South Atlantic Council is considering revisions to its Snapper 
Grouper FMP to modify blueline tilefish management measures that may or 
may not affect the Mid-Atlantic Council's management of this stock. 
Questions remain on potential stock structure of the species throughout 
its distribution and there is considerable uncertainty in the data and 
projections in the most recent benchmark stock assessment that are 
currently being explored. It is expected that the long-term management 
of blueline tilefish fisheries will be improved once these scientific 
and policy issues are resolved. These extended emergency measures will 
continue to protect blueline tilefish in the Greater Atlantic Region 
while allowing the Councils more time to finalize their work.

Comments and Responses

    We received numerous public comments prior to implementation of the 
emergency action, primarily from fishermen who were opposed to overly-
restrictive possession limits on blueline tilefish. Overall, the 
concerns raised in these comments were addressed by the management 
measures that we implemented. We received three comments during the 
original rule's comment period, and these are summarized below.
    Comment 1: One comment was from a North Carolina-based commercial 
fishing organization. The commenter suggested that the blueline 
tilefish possession limits implemented by the rule disproportionately 
impacted commercial fishing vessels while not equally restraining 
recreational fishing vessels.
    Response: According to the analyses in the EA (see ADDRESSES), the 
possession limits implemented by NMFS were expected to have minor 
negative impacts on both commercial and recreational fishing vessels. 
In recent years, only 18 percent of commercial trips landed more than 
500 lb (227 kg) of blueline tilefish, and in 2014, 94 percent of 
landings were derived from only six vessels (out of 81 active vessels). 
Therefore, the commercial possession limit of 300 lb (136 kg) was not 
expected to impact the vast majority of vessels in the fishery, and by 
design, reduces incentives to target blueline tilefish. Similarly, in 
the recreational fishery in recent years, only 12 percent of charter/
party trips landed more than seven fish per person. Therefore, impacts 
on the overall commercial and recreational fisheries were projected to 
be comparable, with little impact on the vast majority of trips.
    Comment 2: One comment from a New Jersey recreational fisherman 
opposed the recreational possession limit, stating it was too 
restrictive.
    Response: As noted in the response above, a minority of 
recreational trips are likely to be affected by the possession limit of 
seven fish per person. The objective of the emergency rule was to 
prevent further expansion of catch on this species, and we believe the 
seven-fish possession limit to be appropriate, and consistent with the 
recommendations of the Council. Additionally, the blueline tilefish 
possession limits do not impact the possession limits of golden 
tilefish or other species.
    Comment 3: One comment was from a recreational fisherman who was 
opposed to a possession limit of one fish per vessel (Alternative 2 in 
the EA).
    Response: NMFS agrees that the possession limits under Alternative 
2 would have been more restrictive, and likely to result in greater 
negative impacts on a higher proportion of fishery participants. NMFS 
chose to implement the possession limit of seven fish per person to 
help constrain fishing effort, while still allowing the fishery to 
continue.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has 
determined that the emergency measures extended by this temporary rule 
are necessary for the conservation and management of the blueline 
tilefish fishery and are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable law.
    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries 
finds good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness of this 
action. Because the extension of these emergency measures contains 
regulations already in place, it is contrary to public interest to 
allow them to expire. As described more fully in the original emergency 
action (80 FR 31864; June 4, 2015), the reasons justifying promulgation 
of the rule on an emergency basis make a delay in effectiveness 
contrary to the public interest. The possession limits implemented for 
recreational and commercial blueline tilefish vessels fishing in 
Federal waters north of the Virgina/North Carolina border are needed to 
constrain fishing mortality on the stock that would otherwise be 
unregulated. To provide protection for blueline tilefish, and to allow 
additional

[[Page 74714]]

time for the Council to develop an appropriate long-term solution for 
the management of this stock, expediting these emergency measures is 
necessary.
    This action is being taken pursuant to the emergency provision of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act and is exempt from OMB review.
    This rule is exempt from the otherwise applicable requirement of 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act to prepare a regulatory flexibility 
analysis because the rule is issued without opportunity for prior 
public comment.

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

    Dated: November 24, 2015.
Eileen Sobeck,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-30320 Filed 11-27-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P