Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Greater Amberjack Management Measures, 75432-75436 [2015-30543]

Download as PDF 75432 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 231 / Wednesday, December 2, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 47 CFR 1.2204(a), (c), (d)(3), and (d)(5) and 73.3700(h)(4) and (6) and FCC Form 177, Application to Participate in a Reverse Incentive Auction, published at 79 FR 48442, August 15, 2014, are effective on December 2, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Cathy Williams, Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov, (202) 418– 2918. DATES: This document announces that, on November 19, 2015, OMB approved on an emergency basis the information collection requirements for FCC Form 177, Application to Participate in a Reverse Incentive Auction and 47 CFR 1.2204(a), (c), (d)(3), and (d)(5) and 73.3700(h)(4) and (6), published at 79 FR 48442 on August 15, 2014. The OMB Control Number is 3060–1213. The Commission publishes this document as an announcement of the effective date of the rules and requirements. If you have any comments on the burden estimates listed below, or how the Commission can improve the collections and reduce any burdens caused thereby, please contact Cathy Williams, Federal Communications Commission, Room 1– C823, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. Please include the OMB Control Number, 3060–1213, in your correspondence. The Commission will also accept your comments via the Internet if you send them to PRA@ fcc.gov. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@ fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418–0530 (voice), (202) 418–0432 (TTY). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Synopsis As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507), the Commission is notifying the public that it received emergency approval from OMB on November 19, 2015, for the information collection requirements contained in the information collection 3060–1213. Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060–1213. The foregoing document is required by the Paperwork Reduction VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:21 Dec 01, 2015 Jkt 238001 Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507. The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents are as follows: OMB Control Number: 3060–1213. OMB Approval Date: November 19, 2015. OMB Expiration Date: May 31, 2016. Title: Application to Participate in a Reverse Incentive Auction, FCC Form 177. Form No.: FCC Form 177. Respondents: Business or other forprofit entities; Not-for-profit institutions; State, local or Tribal government. Number of Respondents and Responses: 600 respondents; 600 responses. Estimated Time per Response: 90 minutes. Frequency of Response: One-time reporting requirement. Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this information collection is contained in sections 154(i) and 309(j)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 4(i), 309(j)(5), and sections 1.2204(a), (c), (d)(3), and (d)(5) and 73.3700(h)(4) and (6) of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.2204(a), (c), (d)(3), (d)(5), 73.3700(h)(4) and (6). Total Annual Burden: 900 hours. Total Annual Cost: None. Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s). Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Certain information collected on FCC Form 177 will be treated as confidential for various periods of time during the course of the broadcast incentive auction (BIA) pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 1452(a)(3) and section 1.2206(b) of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.2206(b). To the extent necessary, respondents may request confidential treatment of information collected on FCC Form 177 that is not already being treated as confidential pursuant to section 0.459 of the Commission’s rules. See 47 CFR 0.459. Needs and Uses: In the Report and Order, the Commission adopted a requirement that entities interested in participating in the reverse auction component of the BIA submit a preauction application to establish their eligibility to participate in the auction, and adopted rules and requirements concerning the types of information that broadcast licensees would be required to disclose in their pre-auction applications. FCC Form 177 implements sections 1.2204(a), (c), (d)(3), (d)(5) and 73.3700(h)(4) and (6) of the Commission’s rules and will be used by PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the public to apply to participate in reverse incentive auctions, including the Commission’s upcoming broadcast incentive reverse auction. The information collected on FCC Form 177 will be used by the Commission to determine if an applicant is legally qualified to participate in the reverse auction. Commission staff will review the information collected on FCC Form 177 as part of the pre-auction process, prior to the start of the reverse auction. Staff will determine whether each applicant satisfies the Commission’s requirements to participate in the reverse auction. This approach provides an appropriate screen to ensure serious participation and deter possible abuse of the bidding process without being unduly burdensome. Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary. [FR Doc. 2015–30476 Filed 12–1–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 150817720–5999–02] RIN 0648–BF21 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Greater Amberjack Management Measures National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS issues regulations to implement management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule revises the commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs) and annual catch targets (ACTs), the commercial trip limit, and the recreational minimum size limit for greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone. Additionally, this rule corrects an error in the Gulf gray triggerfish recreational accountability measures (AMs). The purpose of this rule is to modify Gulf greater amberjack management measures to end SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\02DER1.SGM 02DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 231 / Wednesday, December 2, 2015 / Rules and Regulations overfishing and achieve optimal yield for the greater amberjack resource. DATES: This rule is effective January 4, 2016. Electronic copies of the framework action, which includes an environmental assessment, a regulatory impact review, and a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http:// sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_ fisheries/gulf_fisheries/reef_fish/2015/ greater_amberjack_framework/ index.html. ADDRESSES: Commercial Trip Limit This final rule revises the commercial trip limit to 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight; 1,560 lb (708 kg), round weight. The Council determined that this trip limit would further reduce the likelihood of exceeding the commercial ACL and ACT and could extend the length of the commercial fishing season. Richard Malinowski, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, telephone: 727–824– 5305, email: rich.malinowski@noaa.gov. Recreational Minimum Size Limit This rule revises the greater amberjack recreational minimum size limit to 34 inches (86.4 cm), fork length. The Council determined that this increased recreational minimum size limit would provide an opportunity for a greater number of sexually mature greater amberjack to spawn, which could assist in Council efforts to end overfishing and rebuild the stock. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Gulf reef fish fishery is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). On September 17, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule for the framework action and requested public comment (80 FR 55821). The proposed rule and the framework action outline the rationale for the actions contained in this final rule. A summary of the management measures described in the framework action and implemented by this final rule is provided below. Other Actions Contained in the Framework Action In addition to the measures being implemented in this rule, the framework action revises the greater amberjack acceptable biological catch (ABC) and overfishing limit (OFL). All ABC and OFL weights are described in pounds (lb) round weight. This framework action revises the ABC and OFL for 4 years, beginning in 2015. The ABC, which is equal to the stock ACL is set at 1,720,000 lb (780,179 kg). The OFL is set at 2,660,000 lb (1,206,556 kg) for 2015; 3,210,000 lb (1,456,032 kg) for 2016; 3,420,000 lb (1,551,286 kg) for 2017; and 3,510,000 lb (1,592,109 kg) for 2018, and subsequent years. Management Measures Contained in This Final Rule Additional Proposed Changes to Codified Text In Amendment 37 to the FMP, an inseason AM was implemented for gray triggerfish (which is based on a single season of landings data), so the recreational sector closes when the recreational ACT is reached or projected to be reached (78 FR 27084, May 9, 2013). However, during the implementation of Amendment 37, the last sentence in § 622.41(b)(2)(iii), which states that ‘‘Recreational landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP,’’ was not removed. NMFS has only recently noticed this error. This rule corrects this error by removing this sentence. The recreational ACL and ACT for gray triggerfish implemented in Amendment 37 to the FMP remains unchanged. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: This final rule revises the commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs (which are expressed as quotas in the regulatory text), the commercial trip limit, and the recreational minimum size limit for greater amberjack in the Gulf. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Commercial and Recreational ACLs and ACTs This final rule revises the commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs for Gulf greater amberjack. All ACL and ACT weights are described in pounds (lb) round weight. The current sector allocation for the greater amberjack stock ACL of 27 percent for the commercial sector and 73 percent for the recreational sector does not change through this framework action. The commercial ACL is set at 464,400 lb (210,648 kg) and the commercial ACT is set at 394,740 lb (179,051 kg). The recreational ACL is set at 1,255,600 lb (569,531 kg) and the recreational ACT is set at 1,092,372 lb (495,492 kg). VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:21 Dec 01, 2015 Jkt 238001 Comments and Responses NMFS received 12 comment submissions on the framework action and the proposed rule from individuals, the charter vessel and headboat PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 75433 industry, and non-governmental organizations. The comments that oppose one or more of the management measures in the framework action and the proposed rule are categorized into the comments summarized and responded to below. Comment 1: The greater amberjack minimum size limit should not be revised, or if revised, should instead be set to 32 inches (81 cm), fork length. Further, enforcement of the current size limit should be increased because under-sized greater amberjack are already observed after fishing trips. Response: NMFS disagrees. The 2014 greater amberjack stock assessment indicated that the stock continues to be overfished and undergoing overfishing. The Council determined, and NMFS agrees, that increasing the minimum size limit from 30 inches (76 cm), fork length, to 34 inches (86 cm), fork length, will help end overfishing and rebuild the stock. As described in the framework action, studies have found that at a size limit of 34 inches (86 cm), 85 percent of greater amberjack females reach sexually maturity. However, at the status quo size limit of 30 inches (76 cm) only 11 percent of females reach sexual maturity and at a size limit of 32 inches (81 cm), only 45 percent of females reach sexual maturity. A minimum size limit that is less than the revised 34 inch (86 cm) size limit would allow for a much greater number of greater amberjack to be retained that have not reached sexual maturity, which will lessen the effectiveness of measures being implemented to end overfishing of the stock. With respect to enforcement, the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) is committed to continuing to monitor reef fish harvest and increase awareness and compliance with regulations. Its Enforcement Officer Program is being expanded to better address compliance assistance and fisheries monitoring. Additionally, OLE Enforcement Officers work with state partners providing inspection services for enforcement of Federal regulations through the Joint Enforcement Agreement to better monitor landings. Comment 2: Instead of increasing the greater amberjack recreational minimum size limit, the current June through July greater amberjack recreational closed season should be extended to include August and September each year. This change to the recreational closed season would work to end overfishing of greater amberjack better than a change to the size limit. Response: NMFS disagrees. Extending the recreational closed season into the E:\FR\FM\02DER1.SGM 02DER1 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES 75434 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 231 / Wednesday, December 2, 2015 / Rules and Regulations months of August and September would be expected to result in a longer opportunity to fish during the rest of the recreational fishing season. However, increasing the length of the recreational closed season would not provide greater benefit to the stock than increasing recreational minimum size limit. The increase of the recreational minimum size limit to 34 inches (86 cm) is expected to better allow a greater percentage (85 percent) of the sexually mature females to spawn, which will work towards reducing the risk of overfishing of the stock. The Council did consider revising the recreational closed season in this framework action but decided to retain the current closed season of June 1 through July 31. Comment 3: Greater amberjack has failed to meet its rebuilding plan deadline and is currently without a rebuilding plan, despite its status as being overfished and undergoing overfishing. NMFS and the Council must formalize a rebuilding plan to comply with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and give Gulf greater amberjack rebuilding the greatest likelihood of success. Response: NMFS disagrees that greater amberjack is without a rebuilding plan. As explained in the proposed rule, a greater amberjack rebuilding plan was implemented in 2003 with a rebuilding target of 2012. In August 2014, pursuant to section 304(e)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS notified the Council of the 2014 stock assessment results that indicated that the greater amberjack stock continued to be overfished and undergoing overfishing. Following that notification, the Council was required under section 304(e)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to prepare a plan amendment or regulations within 2 years to end overfishing immediately and rebuild the greater amberjack stock. Although the Council did not explicitly discuss its obligations under section 304(e)(3) of the MagnusonStevens Act, the framework action and this final rule fulfill the Council’s responsibility to ‘‘prepare and implement a fishery management plan, plan amendment, or proposed regulations for the fishery’’ under that provision. Consistent with the requirements of sections 304(e)(3) and (4) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the framework action and this final rule are projected to end overfishing immediately and rebuild the stock in as short a time as possible, taking into account the needs of fishing communities. The specified time for rebuilding is 4 years, well below the maximum time of 10 years specified in VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:21 Dec 01, 2015 Jkt 238001 section 304(4)(A)(ii) of the MagnusonStevens Act. Classification The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of Gulf greater amberjack and is consistent with the framework action, 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. In compliance with section 604 of the RFA, NMFS prepared a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) for this final rule. The FRFA follows. No public comments specific to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis were received and, therefore, no public comments are addressed in this FRFA. NMFS agrees that the Council’s choice of preferred alternatives will best achieve the Council’s objectives for the framework action while minimizing, to the extent practicable, the adverse effects on fishers, support industries, and associated communities. The preamble to the final rule provides a statement of the need for and objectives of this rule. NMFS expects this final rule to directly affect all commercial vessels that harvest Gulf greater amberjack under the FMP. Changes to recreational ACLs, ACTs, and minimum size limits in this final rule will not directly apply to or regulate charter vessel and headboat (for-hire) businesses. Any impact to the profitability or competitiveness of for-hire fishing businesses will be the result of changes in for-hire angler demand and will therefore be indirect in nature. The RFA does not consider recreational anglers, who will be directly affected by this final rule, to be small entities, so they are outside the scope of this analysis and only the effects on commercial vessels were analyzed. As of March 25, 2015, there were 863 vessels with valid or renewable Gulf reef fish commercial vessel Federal permits. On average (2009 through 2013), 211 vessels commercially landed greater amberjack each year from Gulf Federal waters. Their average annual vessel-level revenue for 2009 through 2013 was approximately $130,000 (2013 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 dollars), of which $2,400 was from greater amberjack. No other small entities that will be directly affected by this final rule have been identified. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established size criteria for all major industry sectors in the U.S., including commercial finfish harvesters (NAICS code 114111). A business primarily involved in finfish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $20.5 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. All of the vessels directly regulated by this rule are believed to be small entities based on the SBA size criteria. Because all entities expected to be affected by this final rule are small entities, NMFS has determined that this final rule will affect a substantial number of small entities. Moreover, the issue of disproportionate effects on small versus large entities does not arise in the present case. This final rule reduces the greater amberjack commercial ACT by 3.5 percent or 14,260 lb (6,468 kg), round weight, from 409,000 lb (185,519 kg) to 394,740 lb (179,051 kg), round weight. Additionally, this final rule reduces the greater amberjack commercial trip limit from 2,000 lb (907 kg), round weight, to 1,560 lb (708 kg), round weight; 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight. On its own, the reduction in the commercial ACT would be expected to result in a shorter fishing season and fewer commercial trips that harvest greater amberjack. Conversely, the reduced commercial trip limit would be expected to increase the commercial fishing season length and the overall number of trips necessary to harvest the entire commercial ACT. When the actions to reduce the commercial ACT and trip limit are analyzed together, the expected recurring annual reduction in total exvessel revenue from this final rule is estimated to be $20,703 (2013 dollars), assuming there is no substitution of other species and no change in effort, harvest rates, or prices. In addition, the commercial season length is predicted to be 5 days longer under the preferred commercial ACT and trip limit alternatives than under the no action alternatives for these actions. Assuming the reduction in greater amberjack revenues is distributed evenly across the average number of vessels that commercially harvest greater amberjack per year (211 vessels), the annual pervessel loss is estimated to be $98 (2013 dollars), or less than 1 percent of the E:\FR\FM\02DER1.SGM 02DER1 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 231 / Wednesday, December 2, 2015 / Rules and Regulations average annual revenue earned by these vessels for all species harvested. Because this estimate is based on average performance, some vessels may be affected differently than others, depending on their overall catch composition, landing capacity, and fishing behavior. Thirty vessels, on average per year (2009 through 2013), were identified that commercially landed greater amberjack in excess of the selected 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, trip limit on a single trip (14 percent of the average number of vessels that harvested greater amberjack each year). In 2013, the total weight of greater amberjack harvested in excess of 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, per trip, accounted for approximately 10 percent of total greater amberjack landings. Thus, for the 211 vessels that commercially harvest greater amberjack, the reduction in the commercial trip limit, assuming effort remains constant, is expected to reduce total commercial greater amberjack harvests by approximately 39,000 lb (17,690 kg), round weight, and $46,800 (2013 dollars) in total ex-vessel revenue annually. Averaged across the 30 vessels per year with trip harvests above 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, this reduction equals approximately $1,560 (2013 dollars) per vessel, or approximately 1 percent of their average annual revenue. These losses would be reduced if increased landings of other species can be substituted for greater amberjack landings or if new trips harvesting greater amberjack were to occur. It is assumed that the entire commercial ACT will be harvested under the preferred trip limit alternative. Therefore, if the trip limit change implemented by this final rule results in a decrease in greater amberjack landings and revenues for some vessels, it will result in an increase in greater amberjack landings and revenues for other vessels. The following discussion analyzes the alternatives that were not selected as preferred by the Council. Only the actions which contain alternatives that will have direct economic effects on small entities are included in the following discussion. Four alternatives were considered for the action to modify the commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs for Gulf greater amberjack. The first alternative, the no action alternative, would not be expected to have any direct economic effects. This alternative was not selected because the stock ACL would exceed the ABC calculated by the most recent greater amberjack assessment and recommended by the Council’s VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:21 Dec 01, 2015 Jkt 238001 Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and would, therefore, be inconsistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 1 guidelines. The second alternative would set the stock ACL from 2015 through 2018 equal to the ABC values recommended by the Council’s SSC. This alternative included two sub-options. The first sub-option would use the Council’s ACL/ACT control rule as established in the Generic ACL/AM Amendment (76 FR 82044, December 29, 2011), which would set the commercial ACT at a level reduced by 15 percent from the commercial ACL for greater amberjack and set the recreational ACT at a level reduced by 13 percent from the recreational ACL. The second suboption would not use the ACL/ACT control rule and would instead apply a 20-percent buffer that would reduce both the recreational and commercial ACLs by 20 percent to establish the recreational and commercial ACTs. This alternative would increase the stock ACL each year from 2015 through 2018, which would be expected to result in greater economic benefits than the preferred alternative in the framework action. However, this alternative was not selected as preferred by the Council because the 2014 stock assessment results indicated that the greater amberjack stock continued to be overfished and undergoing overfishing and the Council determined that maintaining the catch limit at the more conservative 2015 level was appropriate. The third alternative, the preferred alternative, sets a constant stock ACL equal to the 2015 ABC value recommended by the Council’s SSC. The same two sub-options for setting the ACT that were considered for the second alternative were also considered for the third alternative. The first suboption, selected as preferred by the Council, applies a 15-percent buffer to the commercial ACL to set the commercial ACT and applies a 13percent buffer to the recreational ACL to set the recreational ACT. The second sub-option would not use the ACL/ACT control rule and instead would apply a 20-percent buffer that would reduce both the recreational and commercial ACLs by 20 percent to establish the recreational and commercial ACTs. The fourth alternative would set the stock ACL and stock ACT at zero. The fourth alternative would stop all directed harvest of greater amberjack by both sectors and would be expected to result in greater economic losses than the Council’s preferred ACL/ACT alternative. PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 75435 Five alternatives were considered for the action to modify the greater amberjack commercial trip limit. The first alternative, the no action alternative, would maintain the current 2,000 lb (907 kg), round weight, trip limit and would not be expected to have any direct economic effects. The third, fourth, and fifth alternatives would have established 1,000 lb (454 kg), 750 lb (340 kg), and 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight trip limits, respectively. Although these three alternatives would be expected to extend the commercial fishing season, they would increase the likelihood that trips are no longer profitable and decrease the likelihood that the entire commercial ACT would be harvested during the fishing year. Therefore, these three alternatives would be expected to result in greater economic losses to affected small entities than the preferred trip limit alternative. An item contained in this final rule that is not part of the framework action is the removal of the last sentence in § 622.41(b)(2)(iii), ‘‘Recreational landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP.’’ This sentence, which pertains to the evaluation of recreational landings of gray triggerfish relative to the ACL, was inadvertently not removed in the final rule implementing Amendment 37 to the FMP (78 FR 27084, May 9, 2013). The removal of this sentence will clarify the criteria used to trigger recreational AMs as written in the Federal regulations; however, it is not expected to have any effect on current management practices. This is because NMFS has managed gray triggerfish in accordance with the preferred alternatives specified in Amendment 37 since its implementation. Therefore, this is an administrative change only and is not expected to have any direct economic effects on small entities. As such, this component of the final rule is outside the scope of the RFA. Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as ‘small entity compliance guides.’ The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of this rulemaking process, NMFS prepared a fishery bulletin, which also serves as a small entity compliance guide. The fishery bulletin will be sent to all interested parties. E:\FR\FM\02DER1.SGM 02DER1 75436 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 231 / Wednesday, December 2, 2015 / Rules and Regulations List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Commercial, Fisheries, Fishing, Greater amberjack, Gulf, Recreational, Reef fish. round weight. The recreational ACT for gray triggerfish is 217,100 lb (98,475 kg), round weight. * * * * * Dated: November 25, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. ■ 5. In § 622.43, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 622.43 For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended as follows: PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ Commercial trip limits. * * * * * (a) Gulf greater amberjack. Until the quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(v) is reached, 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight; 1,560 lb (708 kg), round weight. See § 622.39(b) for the limitations regarding greater amberjack after the quota is reached. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2015–30543 Filed 12–1–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.37, revise paragraph (c)(4) to read as follows: ■ § 622.37 Size limits. * * * * * (c) * * * (4) Greater amberjack—34 inches (86.4 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(1) and 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by a person not subject to the bag limit. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 622.39, revise paragraphs (a)(1)(v) and (a)(2)(ii) to read as follows: § 622.39 * * * * (a) * * * (1) * * * (v) Greater amberjack—394,740 lb (179,051 kg), round weight. * * * * * (2) * * * (ii) Recreational quota for greater amberjack. The recreational quota for greater amberjack is 1,092,372 lb (495,492 kg), round weight. * * * * * ■ 4. In § 622.41, revise paragraphs (a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(iii), and (b)(2)(iii) to read as follows: [Docket No. 140429387–4971–02] RIN 0648–XE334 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico Region NMFS is closing the fishery for commercial non-blacknose small coastal sharks (SCS) in the Gulf of Mexico region. This action is necessary because the commercial landings of Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS for the 2015 fishing season are projected to exceed 80 percent of the available commercial quota as of November 27, 2015. SUMMARY: (a) * * * (1) * * * (iii) The commercial ACL for greater amberjack is 464,400 lb (210,648 kg), round weight. (2) * * * (iii) The recreational ACL for greater amberjack is 1,255,600 lb (569,531 kg), round weight. (b) * * * (2) * * * (iii) The recreational ACL for gray triggerfish is 241,200 lb (109,406 kg), Jkt 238001 The commercial fishery for nonblacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region is closed effective 11:30 p.m. local time December 5, 2015, until the end of the 2015 fishing season on December 31, 2015, and will reopen on January 1, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Guy DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-Geisz 301– 427–8503; fax 301–713–1917. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shark fisheries are managed under the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and its implementing DATES: § 622.41 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs). jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES 50 CFR Part 635 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. * 13:21 Dec 01, 2015 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration AGENCY: Quotas. VerDate Sep<11>2014 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). Under § 635.5(b)(1), dealers must report weekly on sharks they first receive from vessels through a NMFSapproved electronic reporting system. Under § 635.28(b)(2), when NMFS calculates that the landings for any species and/or management group with a ‘‘non-linked’’ quota has reached or is projected to reach 80 percent of the available quota, NMFS will file for publication with the Office of the Federal Register a notice of closure that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from date of filing. From the effective date and time of the closure until and if NMFS announces, via a notification in the Federal Register, that additional quota is available and the season is reopened, the fisheries remain closed, even across fishing years. On December 2, 2014 (79 FR 71331), NMFS announced that the 2015 commercial Gulf of Mexico nonblacknose SCS quota was 45.5 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (100,317 lb dw), while and the blacknose shark quota was 1.8 mt dw (4,076 lb dw). Dealer reports received through June 26, 2015, indicated that 36.9 mt dw or 81 percent of the available Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS quota had been landed and 1.0 mt dw or 52 percent of the available Gulf of Mexico blacknose shark quota had been landed. Since the dealer landings of non-blacknose SCS exceeded 80 percent of the quota, and the non-blacknose SCS and blacknose shark fisheries were quota-linked, NMFS closed the blacknose shark and non-blacknose SCS fisheries on July 4, 2015 (80 FR 38016; July 2, 2016). On August 18, 2015 (80 FR 50073), NMFS published the final rule for Amendment 6 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP which, among other things, established a new Gulf of Mexico nonblacknose SCS commercial quota of 112.6 mt dw (248,215 lb dw), prohibited the retention of blacknose sharks in the Gulf of Mexico, and removed the quota linkage between the blacknose shark fishery and the non-blacknose SCS commercial fishery. At that time, NMFS estimated that approximately 66.4 mt dw of the new Gulf of Mexico nonblacknose SCS commercial quota was available and re-opened the Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS commercial fishery. Dealer reports received through November 20, 2015, indicated that a total of 89.4 mt dw or 79 percent of the available Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS commercial quota had been landed. Based on these dealer reports, NMFS E:\FR\FM\02DER1.SGM 02DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 231 (Wednesday, December 2, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 75432-75436]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-30543]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 150817720-5999-02]
RIN 0648-BF21


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Greater Amberjack Management 
Measures

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS issues regulations to implement management measures 
described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the 
Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the 
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule 
revises the commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACLs) and 
annual catch targets (ACTs), the commercial trip limit, and the 
recreational minimum size limit for greater amberjack in the Gulf of 
Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone. Additionally, this rule corrects 
an error in the Gulf gray triggerfish recreational accountability 
measures (AMs). The purpose of this rule is to modify Gulf greater 
amberjack management measures to end

[[Page 75433]]

overfishing and achieve optimal yield for the greater amberjack 
resource.

DATES: This rule is effective January 4, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the framework action, which includes an 
environmental assessment, a regulatory impact review, and a Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis may be obtained from the Southeast 
Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/reef_fish/2015/greater_amberjack_framework/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Malinowski, Southeast Regional 
Office, NMFS, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: rich.malinowski@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Gulf reef fish fishery is managed under 
the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through 
regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
    On September 17, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule for the 
framework action and requested public comment (80 FR 55821). The 
proposed rule and the framework action outline the rationale for the 
actions contained in this final rule. A summary of the management 
measures described in the framework action and implemented by this 
final rule is provided below.

Management Measures Contained in This Final Rule

    This final rule revises the commercial and recreational ACLs and 
ACTs (which are expressed as quotas in the regulatory text), the 
commercial trip limit, and the recreational minimum size limit for 
greater amberjack in the Gulf.

Commercial and Recreational ACLs and ACTs

    This final rule revises the commercial and recreational ACLs and 
ACTs for Gulf greater amberjack. All ACL and ACT weights are described 
in pounds (lb) round weight. The current sector allocation for the 
greater amberjack stock ACL of 27 percent for the commercial sector and 
73 percent for the recreational sector does not change through this 
framework action. The commercial ACL is set at 464,400 lb (210,648 kg) 
and the commercial ACT is set at 394,740 lb (179,051 kg). The 
recreational ACL is set at 1,255,600 lb (569,531 kg) and the 
recreational ACT is set at 1,092,372 lb (495,492 kg).

Commercial Trip Limit

    This final rule revises the commercial trip limit to 1,500 lb (680 
kg), gutted weight; 1,560 lb (708 kg), round weight. The Council 
determined that this trip limit would further reduce the likelihood of 
exceeding the commercial ACL and ACT and could extend the length of the 
commercial fishing season.

Recreational Minimum Size Limit

    This rule revises the greater amberjack recreational minimum size 
limit to 34 inches (86.4 cm), fork length. The Council determined that 
this increased recreational minimum size limit would provide an 
opportunity for a greater number of sexually mature greater amberjack 
to spawn, which could assist in Council efforts to end overfishing and 
rebuild the stock.

Other Actions Contained in the Framework Action

    In addition to the measures being implemented in this rule, the 
framework action revises the greater amberjack acceptable biological 
catch (ABC) and overfishing limit (OFL). All ABC and OFL weights are 
described in pounds (lb) round weight. This framework action revises 
the ABC and OFL for 4 years, beginning in 2015. The ABC, which is equal 
to the stock ACL is set at 1,720,000 lb (780,179 kg). The OFL is set at 
2,660,000 lb (1,206,556 kg) for 2015; 3,210,000 lb (1,456,032 kg) for 
2016; 3,420,000 lb (1,551,286 kg) for 2017; and 3,510,000 lb (1,592,109 
kg) for 2018, and subsequent years.

Additional Proposed Changes to Codified Text

    In Amendment 37 to the FMP, an in-season AM was implemented for 
gray triggerfish (which is based on a single season of landings data), 
so the recreational sector closes when the recreational ACT is reached 
or projected to be reached (78 FR 27084, May 9, 2013). However, during 
the implementation of Amendment 37, the last sentence in Sec.  
622.41(b)(2)(iii), which states that ``Recreational landings will be 
evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of 
landings, as described in the FMP,'' was not removed. NMFS has only 
recently noticed this error. This rule corrects this error by removing 
this sentence. The recreational ACL and ACT for gray triggerfish 
implemented in Amendment 37 to the FMP remains unchanged.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received 12 comment submissions on the framework action and 
the proposed rule from individuals, the charter vessel and headboat 
industry, and non-governmental organizations. The comments that oppose 
one or more of the management measures in the framework action and the 
proposed rule are categorized into the comments summarized and 
responded to below.
    Comment 1: The greater amberjack minimum size limit should not be 
revised, or if revised, should instead be set to 32 inches (81 cm), 
fork length. Further, enforcement of the current size limit should be 
increased because under-sized greater amberjack are already observed 
after fishing trips.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. The 2014 greater amberjack stock 
assessment indicated that the stock continues to be overfished and 
undergoing overfishing. The Council determined, and NMFS agrees, that 
increasing the minimum size limit from 30 inches (76 cm), fork length, 
to 34 inches (86 cm), fork length, will help end overfishing and 
rebuild the stock.
    As described in the framework action, studies have found that at a 
size limit of 34 inches (86 cm), 85 percent of greater amberjack 
females reach sexually maturity. However, at the status quo size limit 
of 30 inches (76 cm) only 11 percent of females reach sexual maturity 
and at a size limit of 32 inches (81 cm), only 45 percent of females 
reach sexual maturity. A minimum size limit that is less than the 
revised 34 inch (86 cm) size limit would allow for a much greater 
number of greater amberjack to be retained that have not reached sexual 
maturity, which will lessen the effectiveness of measures being 
implemented to end overfishing of the stock.
    With respect to enforcement, the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement 
(OLE) is committed to continuing to monitor reef fish harvest and 
increase awareness and compliance with regulations. Its Enforcement 
Officer Program is being expanded to better address compliance 
assistance and fisheries monitoring. Additionally, OLE Enforcement 
Officers work with state partners providing inspection services for 
enforcement of Federal regulations through the Joint Enforcement 
Agreement to better monitor landings.
    Comment 2: Instead of increasing the greater amberjack recreational 
minimum size limit, the current June through July greater amberjack 
recreational closed season should be extended to include August and 
September each year. This change to the recreational closed season 
would work to end overfishing of greater amberjack better than a change 
to the size limit.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. Extending the recreational closed season 
into the

[[Page 75434]]

months of August and September would be expected to result in a longer 
opportunity to fish during the rest of the recreational fishing season. 
However, increasing the length of the recreational closed season would 
not provide greater benefit to the stock than increasing recreational 
minimum size limit. The increase of the recreational minimum size limit 
to 34 inches (86 cm) is expected to better allow a greater percentage 
(85 percent) of the sexually mature females to spawn, which will work 
towards reducing the risk of overfishing of the stock. The Council did 
consider revising the recreational closed season in this framework 
action but decided to retain the current closed season of June 1 
through July 31.
    Comment 3: Greater amberjack has failed to meet its rebuilding plan 
deadline and is currently without a rebuilding plan, despite its status 
as being overfished and undergoing overfishing. NMFS and the Council 
must formalize a rebuilding plan to comply with the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act and give Gulf greater amberjack rebuilding the greatest likelihood 
of success.
    Response: NMFS disagrees that greater amberjack is without a 
rebuilding plan. As explained in the proposed rule, a greater amberjack 
rebuilding plan was implemented in 2003 with a rebuilding target of 
2012. In August 2014, pursuant to section 304(e)(2) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, NMFS notified the Council of the 2014 stock assessment 
results that indicated that the greater amberjack stock continued to be 
overfished and undergoing overfishing. Following that notification, the 
Council was required under section 304(e)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act to prepare a plan amendment or regulations within 2 years to end 
overfishing immediately and rebuild the greater amberjack stock.
    Although the Council did not explicitly discuss its obligations 
under section 304(e)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the framework 
action and this final rule fulfill the Council's responsibility to 
``prepare and implement a fishery management plan, plan amendment, or 
proposed regulations for the fishery'' under that provision. Consistent 
with the requirements of sections 304(e)(3) and (4) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, the framework action and this final rule are projected to 
end overfishing immediately and rebuild the stock in as short a time as 
possible, taking into account the needs of fishing communities. The 
specified time for rebuilding is 4 years, well below the maximum time 
of 10 years specified in section 304(4)(A)(ii) of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management 
of Gulf greater amberjack and is consistent with the framework action, 
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, record-keeping, or 
other compliance requirements are introduced by this final rule.
    In compliance with section 604 of the RFA, NMFS prepared a final 
regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) for this final rule. The FRFA 
follows.
    No public comments specific to the initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis were received and, therefore, no public comments are addressed 
in this FRFA.
    NMFS agrees that the Council's choice of preferred alternatives 
will best achieve the Council's objectives for the framework action 
while minimizing, to the extent practicable, the adverse effects on 
fishers, support industries, and associated communities. The preamble 
to the final rule provides a statement of the need for and objectives 
of this rule.
    NMFS expects this final rule to directly affect all commercial 
vessels that harvest Gulf greater amberjack under the FMP. Changes to 
recreational ACLs, ACTs, and minimum size limits in this final rule 
will not directly apply to or regulate charter vessel and headboat 
(for-hire) businesses. Any impact to the profitability or 
competitiveness of for-hire fishing businesses will be the result of 
changes in for-hire angler demand and will therefore be indirect in 
nature. The RFA does not consider recreational anglers, who will be 
directly affected by this final rule, to be small entities, so they are 
outside the scope of this analysis and only the effects on commercial 
vessels were analyzed.
    As of March 25, 2015, there were 863 vessels with valid or 
renewable Gulf reef fish commercial vessel Federal permits. On average 
(2009 through 2013), 211 vessels commercially landed greater amberjack 
each year from Gulf Federal waters. Their average annual vessel-level 
revenue for 2009 through 2013 was approximately $130,000 (2013 
dollars), of which $2,400 was from greater amberjack.
    No other small entities that will be directly affected by this 
final rule have been identified.
    The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established size 
criteria for all major industry sectors in the U.S., including 
commercial finfish harvesters (NAICS code 114111). A business primarily 
involved in finfish harvesting is classified as a small business if it 
is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of 
operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts 
not in excess of $20.5 million for all its affiliated operations 
worldwide. All of the vessels directly regulated by this rule are 
believed to be small entities based on the SBA size criteria.
    Because all entities expected to be affected by this final rule are 
small entities, NMFS has determined that this final rule will affect a 
substantial number of small entities. Moreover, the issue of 
disproportionate effects on small versus large entities does not arise 
in the present case.
    This final rule reduces the greater amberjack commercial ACT by 3.5 
percent or 14,260 lb (6,468 kg), round weight, from 409,000 lb (185,519 
kg) to 394,740 lb (179,051 kg), round weight. Additionally, this final 
rule reduces the greater amberjack commercial trip limit from 2,000 lb 
(907 kg), round weight, to 1,560 lb (708 kg), round weight; 1,500 lb 
(680 kg), gutted weight. On its own, the reduction in the commercial 
ACT would be expected to result in a shorter fishing season and fewer 
commercial trips that harvest greater amberjack. Conversely, the 
reduced commercial trip limit would be expected to increase the 
commercial fishing season length and the overall number of trips 
necessary to harvest the entire commercial ACT. When the actions to 
reduce the commercial ACT and trip limit are analyzed together, the 
expected recurring annual reduction in total ex-vessel revenue from 
this final rule is estimated to be $20,703 (2013 dollars), assuming 
there is no substitution of other species and no change in effort, 
harvest rates, or prices. In addition, the commercial season length is 
predicted to be 5 days longer under the preferred commercial ACT and 
trip limit alternatives than under the no action alternatives for these 
actions. Assuming the reduction in greater amberjack revenues is 
distributed evenly across the average number of vessels that 
commercially harvest greater amberjack per year (211 vessels), the 
annual per-vessel loss is estimated to be $98 (2013 dollars), or less 
than 1 percent of the

[[Page 75435]]

average annual revenue earned by these vessels for all species 
harvested. Because this estimate is based on average performance, some 
vessels may be affected differently than others, depending on their 
overall catch composition, landing capacity, and fishing behavior.
    Thirty vessels, on average per year (2009 through 2013), were 
identified that commercially landed greater amberjack in excess of the 
selected 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, trip limit on a single trip 
(14 percent of the average number of vessels that harvested greater 
amberjack each year). In 2013, the total weight of greater amberjack 
harvested in excess of 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight, per trip, 
accounted for approximately 10 percent of total greater amberjack 
landings. Thus, for the 211 vessels that commercially harvest greater 
amberjack, the reduction in the commercial trip limit, assuming effort 
remains constant, is expected to reduce total commercial greater 
amberjack harvests by approximately 39,000 lb (17,690 kg), round 
weight, and $46,800 (2013 dollars) in total ex-vessel revenue annually. 
Averaged across the 30 vessels per year with trip harvests above 1,500 
lb (680 kg), gutted weight, this reduction equals approximately $1,560 
(2013 dollars) per vessel, or approximately 1 percent of their average 
annual revenue. These losses would be reduced if increased landings of 
other species can be substituted for greater amberjack landings or if 
new trips harvesting greater amberjack were to occur. It is assumed 
that the entire commercial ACT will be harvested under the preferred 
trip limit alternative. Therefore, if the trip limit change implemented 
by this final rule results in a decrease in greater amberjack landings 
and revenues for some vessels, it will result in an increase in greater 
amberjack landings and revenues for other vessels.
    The following discussion analyzes the alternatives that were not 
selected as preferred by the Council. Only the actions which contain 
alternatives that will have direct economic effects on small entities 
are included in the following discussion.
    Four alternatives were considered for the action to modify the 
commercial and recreational ACLs and ACTs for Gulf greater amberjack. 
The first alternative, the no action alternative, would not be expected 
to have any direct economic effects. This alternative was not selected 
because the stock ACL would exceed the ABC calculated by the most 
recent greater amberjack assessment and recommended by the Council's 
Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and would, therefore, be 
inconsistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 1 
guidelines. The second alternative would set the stock ACL from 2015 
through 2018 equal to the ABC values recommended by the Council's SSC. 
This alternative included two sub-options. The first sub-option would 
use the Council's ACL/ACT control rule as established in the Generic 
ACL/AM Amendment (76 FR 82044, December 29, 2011), which would set the 
commercial ACT at a level reduced by 15 percent from the commercial ACL 
for greater amberjack and set the recreational ACT at a level reduced 
by 13 percent from the recreational ACL. The second sub-option would 
not use the ACL/ACT control rule and would instead apply a 20-percent 
buffer that would reduce both the recreational and commercial ACLs by 
20 percent to establish the recreational and commercial ACTs. This 
alternative would increase the stock ACL each year from 2015 through 
2018, which would be expected to result in greater economic benefits 
than the preferred alternative in the framework action. However, this 
alternative was not selected as preferred by the Council because the 
2014 stock assessment results indicated that the greater amberjack 
stock continued to be overfished and undergoing overfishing and the 
Council determined that maintaining the catch limit at the more 
conservative 2015 level was appropriate. The third alternative, the 
preferred alternative, sets a constant stock ACL equal to the 2015 ABC 
value recommended by the Council's SSC. The same two sub-options for 
setting the ACT that were considered for the second alternative were 
also considered for the third alternative. The first sub-option, 
selected as preferred by the Council, applies a 15-percent buffer to 
the commercial ACL to set the commercial ACT and applies a 13-percent 
buffer to the recreational ACL to set the recreational ACT. The second 
sub-option would not use the ACL/ACT control rule and instead would 
apply a 20-percent buffer that would reduce both the recreational and 
commercial ACLs by 20 percent to establish the recreational and 
commercial ACTs. The fourth alternative would set the stock ACL and 
stock ACT at zero. The fourth alternative would stop all directed 
harvest of greater amberjack by both sectors and would be expected to 
result in greater economic losses than the Council's preferred ACL/ACT 
alternative.
    Five alternatives were considered for the action to modify the 
greater amberjack commercial trip limit. The first alternative, the no 
action alternative, would maintain the current 2,000 lb (907 kg), round 
weight, trip limit and would not be expected to have any direct 
economic effects. The third, fourth, and fifth alternatives would have 
established 1,000 lb (454 kg), 750 lb (340 kg), and 500 lb (227 kg), 
gutted weight trip limits, respectively. Although these three 
alternatives would be expected to extend the commercial fishing season, 
they would increase the likelihood that trips are no longer profitable 
and decrease the likelihood that the entire commercial ACT would be 
harvested during the fishing year. Therefore, these three alternatives 
would be expected to result in greater economic losses to affected 
small entities than the preferred trip limit alternative.
    An item contained in this final rule that is not part of the 
framework action is the removal of the last sentence in Sec.  
622.41(b)(2)(iii), ``Recreational landings will be evaluated relative 
to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as 
described in the FMP.'' This sentence, which pertains to the evaluation 
of recreational landings of gray triggerfish relative to the ACL, was 
inadvertently not removed in the final rule implementing Amendment 37 
to the FMP (78 FR 27084, May 9, 2013). The removal of this sentence 
will clarify the criteria used to trigger recreational AMs as written 
in the Federal regulations; however, it is not expected to have any 
effect on current management practices. This is because NMFS has 
managed gray triggerfish in accordance with the preferred alternatives 
specified in Amendment 37 since its implementation. Therefore, this is 
an administrative change only and is not expected to have any direct 
economic effects on small entities. As such, this component of the 
final rule is outside the scope of the RFA.
    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness 
Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for 
which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish 
one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, 
and shall designate such publications as `small entity compliance 
guides.' The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is 
required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of 
this rulemaking process, NMFS prepared a fishery bulletin, which also 
serves as a small entity compliance guide. The fishery bulletin will be 
sent to all interested parties.

[[Page 75436]]

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Commercial, Fisheries, Fishing, Greater amberjack, Gulf, 
Recreational, Reef fish.

    Dated: November 25, 2015.
Eileen Sobeck,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended 
as follows:

PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH 
ATLANTIC

0
1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  622.37, revise paragraph (c)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.37  Size limits.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (4) Greater amberjack--34 inches (86.4 cm), fork length, for a fish 
taken by a person subject to the bag limit specified in Sec.  
622.38(b)(1) and 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by 
a person not subject to the bag limit.
* * * * *


0
3. In Sec.  622.39, revise paragraphs (a)(1)(v) and (a)(2)(ii) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  622.39  Quotas.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (v) Greater amberjack--394,740 lb (179,051 kg), round weight.
* * * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) Recreational quota for greater amberjack. The recreational 
quota for greater amberjack is 1,092,372 lb (495,492 kg), round weight.
* * * * *


0
4. In Sec.  622.41, revise paragraphs (a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(iii), and 
(b)(2)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.41  Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), 
and accountability measures (AMs).

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) The commercial ACL for greater amberjack is 464,400 lb 
(210,648 kg), round weight.
    (2) * * *
    (iii) The recreational ACL for greater amberjack is 1,255,600 lb 
(569,531 kg), round weight.
    (b) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) The recreational ACL for gray triggerfish is 241,200 lb 
(109,406 kg), round weight. The recreational ACT for gray triggerfish 
is 217,100 lb (98,475 kg), round weight.
* * * * *


0
5. In Sec.  622.43, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.43  Commercial trip limits.

* * * * *
    (a) Gulf greater amberjack. Until the quota specified in Sec.  
622.39(a)(1)(v) is reached, 1,500 lb (680 kg), gutted weight; 1,560 lb 
(708 kg), round weight. See Sec.  622.39(b) for the limitations 
regarding greater amberjack after the quota is reached.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2015-30543 Filed 12-1-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P