Pacific Island Fisheries; Hawaii Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish; Revised Essential Fish Habitat and Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, 7494-7496 [2016-02843]

Download as PDF 7494 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 29 / Friday, February 12, 2016 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 RIN 0648–XD907 Pacific Island Fisheries; Hawaii Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish; Revised Essential Fish Habitat and Habitat Areas of Particular Concern National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery ecosystem plan amendment; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Fisheries of the Hawaiian Archipelago. If approved, Amendment 4 would revise the descriptions of essential fish habitat (EFH) and habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC) for 14 species of bottomfish and three species of seamount groundfish in the Hawaiian Archipelago. The proposed action considers the best available scientific, commercial, and other information about the fisheries, and supports the long-term sustainability of fishery resources. DATES: NMFS must receive comments on the proposed amendment by April 12, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2015–0056, 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-20150056, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. SUMMARY: • Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd. Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818. Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public record, and NMFS will generally post them for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). The Council prepared Amendment 4 that provides background information on the proposed action. The amendment is available from www.regulations.gov or the Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808–522– 8220, fax 808–522–8226, www.wpcouncil.org. Matt Dunlap, Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS PIR, 808–725–5177. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage Hawaii fisheries under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Fisheries of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Typically, the Council recommends conservation and management measures for NMFS to implement under the authority of Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). The Magnuson-Stevens Act contains EFH provisions to identify and protect important habitats of federallymanaged fish. EFH are those waters and substrates necessary for fish to spawn, breed, feed, and grow to maturity. HAPC are a subset of EFH, and HAPC criteria include the importance of the habitat’s ecological function, the extent to which FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: the habitat is sensitive to humaninduced environmental degradation, what development activities are or will be stressing the habitat, and the rarity of the habitat type. Federal agencies that fund, permit, or undertake activities that may adversely affect EFH are required to consult with NMFS regarding the potential effects of their actions on EFH, and to respond to NMFS recommendations. The Council and NMFS have improved their understanding of the life histories and specific habitat requirements of Hawaii bottomfish and seamount groundfish. After considering the new information, the Council recommended revising the EFH and HAPC designations in the FEP. NMFS must receive comments on the proposed amendment by April 12, 2016 for consideration in the decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove the amendment. Current EFH and HAPC for Hawaii Bottomfish The current designation for overall EFH for Hawaii bottomfish is the ‘‘water column extending from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the 200-mile EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone] to a depth of 400 m.’’ The current designation for HAPC is ‘‘all escarpments and slopes between 40–280 m and three known areas of juvenile P. [Pristipimoides] filamentosus habitat’’ (Table 1). Current EFH and HAPC for Hawaii Seamount Groundfish The overall EFH for Hawaii seamount groundfish is currently defined as the ‘‘water column and bottom habitat from 0–600 m in the EEZ, bounded by latitude 29°–35° N., and longitude 171° E.,–179° W.’’ The seamount groundfish EFH encompasses the Hancock Seamounts, part of the northern extent of the Hawaiian Ridge, located 1,500 miles northwest of Honolulu. Currently, there are no HAPC designations for Hawaii seamount groundfish (Table 1). TABLE 1—CURRENT EFH AND HAPC FOR BOTTOMFISH AND SEAMOUNT GROUNDFISH EFH (eggs) asabaliauskas on DSK9F6TC42PROD with PROPOSALS Species assemblage Bottomfish Shallow Complex. Bottomfish Deep Complex VerDate Sep<11>2014 EFH (larvae) Water column extending from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ to a depth of 400 m. 17:04 Feb 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 EFH (juveniles) EFH (adults) Water column and bottom habitat extending from shoreline to a depth of 400 m. Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 HAPC (all life stages) All escarpments and slopes between 40–280 m and three known areas of juvenile P. filamentosus habitat. 7495 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 29 / Friday, February 12, 2016 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—CURRENT EFH AND HAPC FOR BOTTOMFISH AND SEAMOUNT GROUNDFISH—Continued EFH (eggs) Species assemblage Seamount Groundfish EFH (larvae) EFH (juveniles) Epipelagic zone (0 to 200 m depth) of all waters bounded by 29°–35° N., and 171° E.–179° W. Proposed Changes to EFH and HAPC of Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish of the Hawaiian Archipelago Bottomfish Under the changes proposed in Amendment 4, the overall EFH designation for Hawaii bottomfish would remain the same, i.e., waters 0– 400 m deep within the EEZ. The Council’s recommendations are a refinement with respect to which life stages and species assemblages are associated with a particular EFH designation. The amendment proposes to revise descriptions of habitat importance for individual species, which reflects updated information about depth range and life history for each life stage of each bottomfish. The amendment proposes to designate EFH for three bottomfish complexes (shallow, intermediate, and deep) instead of the current two (shallow and deep). The amendment proposes replacing the previous life stage terms of larvae, juvenile, and adults with the terms post-hatch pelagic, postsettlement, and sub-adult/adult, respectively. The amendment uses the term ‘‘pelagic’’ to refer to the water column that excludes bottom habitat, ‘‘benthopelagic’’ for the water column and benthic habitat, and ‘‘benthic’’ for the bottom habitat and the immediately adjacent waters in which a bottomdwelling fish might live. Revised HAPC designations are for seven distinct sites in the main Hawaiian Islands (Table 2). EFH (adults) Water column and bottom habitat from 80 m to 600 m, bounded by 29°– 35° N. and 171° E.–179° W. HAPC (all life stages) Not identified. Seamount Groundfish Under the changes proposed in Amendment 4, EFH for Hawaii seamount groundfish would be an area that overlaps the Hancock Seamounts Ecosystem Management area, or the waters within the EEZ north of 28° N. and west of 180° W. The proposed revisions to EFH for seamount groundfish involve distinctions over depth ranges at various life stages. The Council is proposing to designate the same area described for EFH above as HAPC for seamount groundfish (Table 2). Previously there were no HAPC designated for seamount groundfish in the Hawaiian archipelago. TABLE 2—PROPOSED EFH AND HAPC FOR BOTTOMFISH AND SEAMOUNT GROUNDFISH EFH (eggs) Species assemblage Bottomfish Shallow ..... Complex. Bottomfish Intermediate Complex. Bottomfish Deep Complex. asabaliauskas on DSK9F6TC42PROD with PROPOSALS Seamount Groundfish VerDate Sep<11>2014 EFH (post-hatch pelagic) EFH (post-settlement) EFH (sub-adult/adult) Water column from 0–240 m depth extending from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ. Water column from 0–320 m depth extending from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ. Water column from 0–400 m depth extending from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ. Water column from 0–240 m depth extending from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ. Water column from 40–320 m depth from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ. Pelagic waters 0–600 m depth within the EEZ north of 29° N., and west of 179° W. Benthic or benthopelagic waters from 120– 600 m depth within the EEZ north of 29° N., and west of 179° W. 17:04 Feb 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Water column from 80–400 m depth from the shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ. Sfmt 4702 HAPC (all life stages) Kaena Point, Oahu Kaneohe Bay, Oahu Makapuu, Oahu Penguin Bank, Oahu Pailolo Channel, Maui North Kahoolawe, Kahoolawe Hilo, Hawaii (see Amendment text and Appendices 4 and 5 for specific site locations). Benthopelagic waters All waters from 0–600 from 120–600 m m depth within the depth within the EEZ north of 29° EEZ north of 29° N. N., and west of and west of 179° W. 179° W. E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 7496 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 29 / Friday, February 12, 2016 / Proposed Rules Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 8, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–02843 Filed 2–11–16; 8:45 am] asabaliauskas on DSK9F6TC42PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:04 Feb 11, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 29 (Friday, February 12, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7494-7496]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02843]



[[Page 7494]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 665

RIN 0648-XD907


Pacific Island Fisheries; Hawaii Bottomfish and Seamount 
Groundfish; Revised Essential Fish Habitat and Habitat Areas of 
Particular Concern

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery ecosystem plan amendment; 
request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management 
Council (Council) proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for 
Fisheries of the Hawaiian Archipelago. If approved, Amendment 4 would 
revise the descriptions of essential fish habitat (EFH) and habitat 
areas of particular concern (HAPC) for 14 species of bottomfish and 
three species of seamount groundfish in the Hawaiian Archipelago. The 
proposed action considers the best available scientific, commercial, 
and other information about the fisheries, and supports the long-term 
sustainability of fishery resources.

DATES: NMFS must receive comments on the proposed amendment by April 
12, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2015-0056, 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-2015-0056, 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: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other 
method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end 
of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public 
record, and NMFS will generally post them for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    The Council prepared Amendment 4 that provides background 
information on the proposed action. The amendment is available from 
www.regulations.gov or the Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, 
Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808-522-8220, fax 808-522-8226, 
www.wpcouncil.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matt Dunlap, Sustainable Fisheries 
Division, NMFS PIR, 808-725-5177.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage Hawaii fisheries 
under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Fisheries of the Hawaiian 
Archipelago. Typically, the Council recommends conservation and 
management measures for NMFS to implement under the authority of 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). The Magnuson-Stevens Act contains 
EFH provisions to identify and protect important habitats of federally-
managed fish. EFH are those waters and substrates necessary for fish to 
spawn, breed, feed, and grow to maturity. HAPC are a subset of EFH, and 
HAPC criteria include the importance of the habitat's ecological 
function, the extent to which the habitat is sensitive to human-induced 
environmental degradation, what development activities are or will be 
stressing the habitat, and the rarity of the habitat type. Federal 
agencies that fund, permit, or undertake activities that may adversely 
affect EFH are required to consult with NMFS regarding the potential 
effects of their actions on EFH, and to respond to NMFS 
recommendations.
    The Council and NMFS have improved their understanding of the life 
histories and specific habitat requirements of Hawaii bottomfish and 
seamount groundfish. After considering the new information, the Council 
recommended revising the EFH and HAPC designations in the FEP.
    NMFS must receive comments on the proposed amendment by April 12, 
2016 for consideration in the decision to approve, partially approve, 
or disapprove the amendment.

Current EFH and HAPC for Hawaii Bottomfish

    The current designation for overall EFH for Hawaii bottomfish is 
the ``water column extending from the shoreline to the outer boundary 
of the 200-mile EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone] to a depth of 400 m.'' 
The current designation for HAPC is ``all escarpments and slopes 
between 40-280 m and three known areas of juvenile P. [Pristipimoides] 
filamentosus habitat'' (Table 1).

Current EFH and HAPC for Hawaii Seamount Groundfish

    The overall EFH for Hawaii seamount groundfish is currently defined 
as the ``water column and bottom habitat from 0-600 m in the EEZ, 
bounded by latitude 29[deg]-35[deg] N., and longitude 171[deg] E.,-
179[deg] W.'' The seamount groundfish EFH encompasses the Hancock 
Seamounts, part of the northern extent of the Hawaiian Ridge, located 
1,500 miles northwest of Honolulu. Currently, there are no HAPC 
designations for Hawaii seamount groundfish (Table 1).

                                          Table 1--Current EFH and HAPC for Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                       HAPC (all life
         Species assemblage                EFH (eggs)             EFH (larvae)          EFH (juveniles)          EFH (adults)             stages)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish Shallow Complex.........   Water column extending from the shoreline to
Bottomfish Deep Complex............    the outer boundary of the EEZ to a depth of
                                                          400 m.
                                     Water column and bottom habitat extending from  All escarpments and
                                              shoreline to a depth of 400 m.          slopes between 40-
                                                                                      280 m and three
                                                                                      known areas of
                                                                                      juvenile P.
                                                                                      filamentosus
                                                                                      habitat..
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 7495]]

 
Seamount Groundfish................   Epipelagic zone (0 to 200 m depth) of all waters bounded by 29[deg]-  Water column and       Not identified.
                                                     35[deg] N., and 171[deg] E.-179[deg] W.                 bottom habitat from
                                                                                                             80 m to 600 m,
                                                                                                             bounded by 29[deg]-
                                                                                                             35[deg] N. and
                                                                                                             171[deg] E.-179[deg]
                                                                                                             W.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposed Changes to EFH and HAPC of Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish 
of the Hawaiian Archipelago

Bottomfish

    Under the changes proposed in Amendment 4, the overall EFH 
designation for Hawaii bottomfish would remain the same, i.e., waters 
0-400 m deep within the EEZ. The Council's recommendations are a 
refinement with respect to which life stages and species assemblages 
are associated with a particular EFH designation. The amendment 
proposes to revise descriptions of habitat importance for individual 
species, which reflects updated information about depth range and life 
history for each life stage of each bottomfish. The amendment proposes 
to designate EFH for three bottomfish complexes (shallow, intermediate, 
and deep) instead of the current two (shallow and deep). The amendment 
proposes replacing the previous life stage terms of larvae, juvenile, 
and adults with the terms post-hatch pelagic, post-settlement, and sub-
adult/adult, respectively. The amendment uses the term ``pelagic'' to 
refer to the water column that excludes bottom habitat, 
``benthopelagic'' for the water column and benthic habitat, and 
``benthic'' for the bottom habitat and the immediately adjacent waters 
in which a bottom-dwelling fish might live. Revised HAPC designations 
are for seven distinct sites in the main Hawaiian Islands (Table 2).

Seamount Groundfish

    Under the changes proposed in Amendment 4, EFH for Hawaii seamount 
groundfish would be an area that overlaps the Hancock Seamounts 
Ecosystem Management area, or the waters within the EEZ north of 
28[deg] N. and west of 180[deg] W. The proposed revisions to EFH for 
seamount groundfish involve distinctions over depth ranges at various 
life stages. The Council is proposing to designate the same area 
described for EFH above as HAPC for seamount groundfish (Table 2). 
Previously there were no HAPC designated for seamount groundfish in the 
Hawaiian archipelago.

                                          Table 2--Proposed EFH and HAPC for Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 EFH (post-hatch                                                       HAPC (all life
         Species assemblage                EFH (eggs)               pelagic)         EFH (post-settlement)  EFH (sub-adult/adult)         stages)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish Shallow.................  Water column from 0-240 m depth extending
                                     Water column from 0-240 m depth extending       Kaena Point, Oahu....
 Complex.                             from the shoreline to the outer boundary of
                                      from the shoreline to the outer boundary of     Kaneohe Bay,
                                      the EEZ.
                                      the EEZ.                                        Oahu Makapuu,
Bottomfish Inter-                    Water column from 0-320 m depth extending
                                     Water column from 40-320 m depth from the        Oahu Penguin
 mediate Complex.                     from the shoreline to the outer boundary of
                                      shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ.     Bank, Oahu Pailolo
                                      the EEZ.
                                                                                      Channel, Maui
Bottomfish Deep Com-                 Water column from 0-400 m depth extending
                                     Water column from 80-400 m depth from the        North Kahoolawe,
 plex.                                from the shoreline to the outer boundary of
                                      shoreline to the outer boundary of the EEZ.     Kahoolawe Hilo,
                                      the EEZ.
                                                                                      Hawaii (see
                                                                                      Amendment text and
                                                                                      Appendices 4 and 5
                                                                                      for specific site
                                                                                      locations).
                                                                                    ----------------------------------------------
Seamount Groundfish................  Pelagic waters 0-600 m depth within the EEZ     Benthic or             Benthopelagic waters   All waters from 0-600
                                      north of 29[deg] N., and west of 179[deg] W.    benthopelagic waters   from 120-600 m depth   m depth within the
                                                                                      from 120-600 m depth   within the EEZ north   EEZ north of 29[deg]
                                                                                      within the EEZ north   of 29[deg] N. and      N., and west of
                                                                                      of 29[deg] N., and     west of 179[deg] W.    179[deg] W.
                                                                                      west of 179[deg] W.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



[[Page 7496]]

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

    Dated: February 8, 2016.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-02843 Filed 2-11-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P