Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications, 8857-8859 [2016-03610]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 35 / Tuesday, February 23, 2016 / Rules and Regulations § 1245.2 Reports of railroad employees, service and compensation. PART 1248—FREIGHT COMMODITY STATISTICS Each Class I railroad is required to file a Quarterly Report of Railroad Employees, Service, and Compensation, (Quarterly Wage Forms A & B). In addition, such carriers shall also file an Annual Report of Railroad Employees, Service, and Compensation, (Annual Wage Forms A & B) for each calendar year. Both reports shall be submitted, in paper or electronically, to the Office of Economics, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC. The quarterly report shall be submitted within 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter. The annual report shall be submitted within 45 days after the end of the reporting year. 143. The authority citation for Part 1248 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 721, 11144 and 11145. 144. Revise the note for Part 1248 to read as follows: ■ Note: The report forms prescribed by part 1248 are available upon request from the Office of Economics, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC. 145. In § 1248.5(a), revise the first sentence to read as follows: ■ § 1248.5 Report forms and date of filing. ■ (a) Reports required from Class I carriers by this section shall be submitted, in paper or electronically, to the Office of Economics, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC, on forms which will be furnished to the carriers. * * * * * * * * § 1246.1 Monthly report of number of railroad employees. PART 1253—RATE-MAKING ORGANIZATION; RECORDS AND REPORTS PART 1246—NUMBER OF RAILROAD EMPLOYEES 138. The authority citation for Part 1246 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 721, 11145. 139. Revise § 1246.1 to read as follows: Each Class I railroad shall file a Monthly Report of Number of Railroad Employees (Form C) each month. The report should be submitted, in paper or electronically, to the Office of Economics, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC, by the end of the month to which it applies. ■ 140. Revise the note for part 1246 to read as follows: Note: The report forms prescribed by part 1246 are available upon request from the Office of Economics, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC. PART 1247—REPORT OF CARS LOADED AND CARS TERMINATED 141. The authority citation for Part 1247 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 721, 10707, 11144, 11145. § 1247.1 [Amended] 142. In § 1247.1: a. Remove the title ‘‘Office of Economics, Environmental Analysis, and Administration (OEEAA)’’ and add in its place ‘‘Office of Economics’’. ■ b. Remove the zip code ‘‘20243’’. ■ c. In the last sentence, remove ‘‘(http://www.stb.dot.gov/ infoex1.htm#forms)’’ and add in its place ‘‘(http://www.stb.dot.gov)’’. ■ d. Remove ‘‘OEEAA’’ and add in its place ‘‘the Office of Economics’’. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES ■ ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Feb 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 146. The authority citation for Part 1253 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 721, 10706, 13703, 11144 and 11145. 147. Revise the note for Part 1253 to read as follows: ■ Note: The report forms prescribed by part 1253 are available upon request from the Office of Economics, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC. Note: The following comment will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations. COMMISSIONER BEGEMAN, commenting: It is disappointing that today’s decision is all we can muster up more than four years after receiving public comments on whether any of the Board’s regulations are ‘‘ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and how to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them. . . .’’ I certainly don’t object to replacing obsolete references and correcting spelling and other errors, but we should be doing so as a matter of course. Today’s decision is simply not responsive to what we set out to do in 2011. Nor does it meet the spirit—let alone achieve the purpose—of the President’s two Executive Orders. [FR Doc. 2016–03298 Filed 2–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8857 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 150708591–6096–02] RIN 0648–XE043 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS issues this final rule to implement annual management measures and harvest specifications to establish the allowable catch levels (i.e. annual catch limit (ACL)/harvest guideline (HG)) for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Pacific Coast for the fishing season of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. This rule is implemented pursuant to the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The 2015–2016 HG for Pacific mackerel is 21,469 metric tons (mt). This is the total commercial fishing target level. This action also implements an annual catch target (ACT), of 20,469 mt. If the fishery attains the ACT, the directed fishery will close, reserving the difference between the HG (21,469 mt) and ACT as a 1,000 mt set-aside for incidental landings in other CPS fisheries and other sources of mortality. This final rule is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific mackerel stock off the U.S. West Coast. DATES: Effective March 24, 2016 through June 30, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua Lindsay, West Coast Region, NMFS, (562) 980–4034 Joshua.Lindsay@ noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: During public meetings each year, the estimated biomass for Pacific mackerel is presented to the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) CPS Management Team (Team), the Council’s CPS Advisory Subpanel (Subpanel) and the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and the biomass and the status of the fishery are reviewed and discussed. The biomass estimate is then presented to the Council along with the recommended overfishing limit (OFL) and acceptable biological catch (ABC) calculations from the SSC, along with the calculated ACL, HG and ACT recommendations, and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\23FER1.SGM 23FER1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES 8858 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 35 / Tuesday, February 23, 2016 / Rules and Regulations comments from the Team and Subpanel. Following review by the Council and after reviewing public comment, the Council adopts a biomass estimate and makes its catch level recommendations to NMFS. NMFS manages the Pacific mackerel fishery in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific Coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) in accordance with the FMP. Annual specifications published in the Federal Register establish the allowable harvest levels (i.e. OFL/ACL/ HG) for each Pacific mackerel fishing year. The purpose of this final rule is to implement the 2015–2016 ACL, HG, ACT and other annual catch reference points, including OFL and an ABC that takes into consideration uncertainty surrounding the current estimate of biomass for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific Coast. The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set these annual catch levels for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the annual specification framework and control rules in the FMP. These control rules include the HG control rule, which in conjunction with the OFL and ABC rules in the FMP, are used to manage harvest levels for Pacific mackerel, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. According to the FMP, the quota for the principal commercial fishery is determined using the FMP-specified HG formula. The HG is based, in large part, on the current estimate of stock biomass. The annual biomass estimates are an explicit part of the various harvest control rules for Pacific mackerel, and as the estimated biomass decreases or increases from one year to the next, the resulting allowable catch levels similarly trend. The harvest control rule in the CPS FMP is HG = [(Biomass-Cutoff) * Fraction * Distribution] with the parameters described as follows: 1. Biomass. The estimated stock biomass of Pacific mackerel. For the 2015–2016 management season this is 120,435 mt. 2. Cutoff. This is the biomass level below which no commercial fishery is allowed. The FMP established this level at 18,200 mt. 3. Fraction. The harvest fraction is the percentage of the biomass above 18,200 mt that may be harvested. 4. Distribution. The average portion of the Pacific mackerel biomass estimated in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific Coast is 70 percent and is based on the average historical larval distribution obtained from scientific cruises and the distribution of the resource according to the logbooks of aerial fish-spotters. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Feb 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 At the June 2015 Council meeting, the Council adopted the ‘‘Pacific Mackerel (Scomber japonicus) Stock Assessment for USA Management in the 2015–16 and 2016–2017 Fishing Years’’ (completed by NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center) and the resulting Pacific mackerel biomass estimate for use in the 2015–2016 fishing year of 120,435 mt. Based on recommendations from its SSC and other advisory bodies, the Council recommended, and NMFS is implementing, an OFL of 25,291 mt, an ABC and ACL of 23,104 mt, a HG of 21,469 mt, and an ACT of 20,469 mt for the fishing year of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. As of the publication of this final rule, the level of Pacific mackerel harvest since July 1, 2015, in the EEZ off the Pacific Coast has not reached 20,469 mt; Pacific mackerel harvested in this area between July 1, 2015, and the effective date of this final rule will count toward the 20,469 mt ACT. Additionally, the Council also adopted and recommended harvest specifications for the 2016–2017 fishing year; however, currently NMFS is only implementing the annual harvest measures for the 2015–2016 fishing year. A subsequent rule will be published later in the year that will propose the Council’s recommendations for the 2016–2017 fishing year. Upon attainment of the ACT, the directed fishing would close, reserving the difference between the HG and ACT (1,000 mt) as a set aside for incidental landings in other CPS fisheries and other sources of mortality. For the remainder of the fishing year incidental landings would also be constrained to a 45 percent incidental catch allowance when Pacific mackerel are landed with other CPS (in other words, no more than 45 percent by weight of the CPS landed per trip may be Pacific mackerel), except that up to 3 mt of Pacific mackerel could be landed incidentally without landing any other CPS. Upon attainment of the HG (21,469 mt), no retention of Pacific mackerel would be allowed in CPS fisheries. In previous years, the incidental set-aside established in the mackerel fishery has been, in part, to ensure that if the directed quota for mackerel was reached that the operation of the Pacific sardine fishery was not overly restricted. There is no directed Pacific sardine fishery for the 2015–2016 season, therefore the need for a high incidental set-aside is reduced. The purpose of the incidental set-aside is to manage incidental landings of Pacific mackerel in other fisheries, particularly other CPS fisheries, when the directed fishery is PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 closed to reduce potential discard of Pacific mackerel and allow for continued prosecution of other important CPS fisheries in which incidental catch of Pacific mackerel cannot be avoided. The NMFS West Coast Regional Administrator will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the date of any closure to either directed or incidental fishing. Additionally, to ensure the regulated community is informed of any closure, NMFS will also make announcements through other means available, including fax, email, and mail to fishermen, processors, and state fishery management agencies. On September 10, 2015, a proposed rule was published for this action and public comments solicited (80 FR 54507), with a comment period that ended on October 13, 2015. NMFS received two comments, explained below, regarding the proposed Pacific mackerel specifications. After consideration of public comment, no changes were made from the proposed rule. Detailed information on the fishery and the stock assessment are found in the reports ‘‘Pacific Mackerel (Scomber japonicus) Stock Assessment for USA Management in the 2015–16 Fishing Year’’ and ‘‘Pacific Mackerel Biomass Projection Estimate for USA Management (2015–16)’’ (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Comments and Responses Comment 1: The commenter expressed general support for this action, but only if the fishery is potentially subject to overfishing or if the decrease in harvest levels does not put people out of work. Response: Fisheries have the potential to overfish Pacific mackerel if unregulated. NMFS does not anticipate that this action will have a significant adverse economic impact on fishermen in this fishery. Comment 2: The commenter did not comment on the proposed action specifically, but discussed the management of commercial forage fish off the West Coast generally, specifically referencing concern over the status of Pacific sardine and northern anchovy stocks. Response: NMFS notes that Pacific mackerel is not overfished, that overfishing is not occurring, and that the best available science was used in the determination of these catch levels. NMFS agrees that the consideration of ecosystem interactions, such as the role of forage species and ecological conditions, along with social and economic factors are critical when making fishery management decisions. E:\FR\FM\23FER1.SGM 23FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 35 / Tuesday, February 23, 2016 / Rules and Regulations As such, NMFS has been working to better understand diet linkages between forage fish species and higher order predators to enhance the ecosystem science used in our fisheries management. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Assistant Administrator, NMFS, has determined that this final rule is consistent with the CPS FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other applicable law. These specifications are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. This action does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 12, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–03610 Filed 2–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140918791–4999–02] asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES RIN 0648–XE457 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Using Pot Gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Feb 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2016 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 19, 2016, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10, 2016. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907–586–7228. NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. Regulations governing sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR part 680. The A season allowance of the 2016 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA is 5,417 metric tons (mt), as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) and inseason adjustment (81 FR 188, January 5, 2016). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season allowance of the 2016 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 5,407 mt and is setting aside the remaining 10 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 8859 Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip. Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for vessels using pot gear in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of February 17, 2016. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment. This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 18, 2016. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–03732 Filed 2–18–16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\23FER1.SGM 23FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 35 (Tuesday, February 23, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 8857-8859]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-03610]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 150708591-6096-02]
RIN 0648-XE043


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species 
Fisheries; Annual Specifications

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues this final rule to implement annual management 
measures and harvest specifications to establish the allowable catch 
levels (i.e. annual catch limit (ACL)/harvest guideline (HG)) for 
Pacific mackerel in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the 
Pacific Coast for the fishing season of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 
2016. This rule is implemented pursuant to the Coastal Pelagic Species 
(CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The 2015-2016 HG for Pacific 
mackerel is 21,469 metric tons (mt). This is the total commercial 
fishing target level. This action also implements an annual catch 
target (ACT), of 20,469 mt. If the fishery attains the ACT, the 
directed fishery will close, reserving the difference between the HG 
(21,469 mt) and ACT as a 1,000 mt set-aside for incidental landings in 
other CPS fisheries and other sources of mortality. This final rule is 
intended to conserve and manage the Pacific mackerel stock off the U.S. 
West Coast.

DATES: Effective March 24, 2016 through June 30, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua Lindsay, West Coast Region, 
NMFS, (562) 980-4034 Joshua.Lindsay@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: During public meetings each year, the 
estimated biomass for Pacific mackerel is presented to the Pacific 
Fishery Management Council's (Council) CPS Management Team (Team), the 
Council's CPS Advisory Subpanel (Subpanel) and the Council's Scientific 
and Statistical Committee (SSC), and the biomass and the status of the 
fishery are reviewed and discussed. The biomass estimate is then 
presented to the Council along with the recommended overfishing limit 
(OFL) and acceptable biological catch (ABC) calculations from the SSC, 
along with the calculated ACL, HG and ACT recommendations, and

[[Page 8858]]

comments from the Team and Subpanel. Following review by the Council 
and after reviewing public comment, the Council adopts a biomass 
estimate and makes its catch level recommendations to NMFS. NMFS 
manages the Pacific mackerel fishery in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific 
Coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) in accordance with the FMP. 
Annual specifications published in the Federal Register establish the 
allowable harvest levels (i.e. OFL/ACL/HG) for each Pacific mackerel 
fishing year. The purpose of this final rule is to implement the 2015-
2016 ACL, HG, ACT and other annual catch reference points, including 
OFL and an ABC that takes into consideration uncertainty surrounding 
the current estimate of biomass for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. EEZ 
off the Pacific Coast.
    The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set 
these annual catch levels for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the 
annual specification framework and control rules in the FMP. These 
control rules include the HG control rule, which in conjunction with 
the OFL and ABC rules in the FMP, are used to manage harvest levels for 
Pacific mackerel, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. According to 
the FMP, the quota for the principal commercial fishery is determined 
using the FMP-specified HG formula. The HG is based, in large part, on 
the current estimate of stock biomass. The annual biomass estimates are 
an explicit part of the various harvest control rules for Pacific 
mackerel, and as the estimated biomass decreases or increases from one 
year to the next, the resulting allowable catch levels similarly trend. 
The harvest control rule in the CPS FMP is HG = [(Biomass-Cutoff) * 
Fraction * Distribution] with the parameters described as follows:
    1. Biomass. The estimated stock biomass of Pacific mackerel. For 
the 2015-2016 management season this is 120,435 mt.
    2. Cutoff. This is the biomass level below which no commercial 
fishery is allowed. The FMP established this level at 18,200 mt.
    3. Fraction. The harvest fraction is the percentage of the biomass 
above 18,200 mt that may be harvested.
    4. Distribution. The average portion of the Pacific mackerel 
biomass estimated in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific Coast is 70 percent 
and is based on the average historical larval distribution obtained 
from scientific cruises and the distribution of the resource according 
to the logbooks of aerial fish-spotters.
    At the June 2015 Council meeting, the Council adopted the ``Pacific 
Mackerel (Scomber japonicus) Stock Assessment for USA Management in the 
2015-16 and 2016-2017 Fishing Years'' (completed by NMFS Southwest 
Fisheries Science Center) and the resulting Pacific mackerel biomass 
estimate for use in the 2015-2016 fishing year of 120,435 mt. Based on 
recommendations from its SSC and other advisory bodies, the Council 
recommended, and NMFS is implementing, an OFL of 25,291 mt, an ABC and 
ACL of 23,104 mt, a HG of 21,469 mt, and an ACT of 20,469 mt for the 
fishing year of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. As of the publication 
of this final rule, the level of Pacific mackerel harvest since July 1, 
2015, in the EEZ off the Pacific Coast has not reached 20,469 mt; 
Pacific mackerel harvested in this area between July 1, 2015, and the 
effective date of this final rule will count toward the 20,469 mt ACT. 
Additionally, the Council also adopted and recommended harvest 
specifications for the 2016-2017 fishing year; however, currently NMFS 
is only implementing the annual harvest measures for the 2015-2016 
fishing year. A subsequent rule will be published later in the year 
that will propose the Council's recommendations for the 2016-2017 
fishing year.
    Upon attainment of the ACT, the directed fishing would close, 
reserving the difference between the HG and ACT (1,000 mt) as a set 
aside for incidental landings in other CPS fisheries and other sources 
of mortality. For the remainder of the fishing year incidental landings 
would also be constrained to a 45 percent incidental catch allowance 
when Pacific mackerel are landed with other CPS (in other words, no 
more than 45 percent by weight of the CPS landed per trip may be 
Pacific mackerel), except that up to 3 mt of Pacific mackerel could be 
landed incidentally without landing any other CPS. Upon attainment of 
the HG (21,469 mt), no retention of Pacific mackerel would be allowed 
in CPS fisheries. In previous years, the incidental set-aside 
established in the mackerel fishery has been, in part, to ensure that 
if the directed quota for mackerel was reached that the operation of 
the Pacific sardine fishery was not overly restricted. There is no 
directed Pacific sardine fishery for the 2015-2016 season, therefore 
the need for a high incidental set-aside is reduced. The purpose of the 
incidental set-aside is to manage incidental landings of Pacific 
mackerel in other fisheries, particularly other CPS fisheries, when the 
directed fishery is closed to reduce potential discard of Pacific 
mackerel and allow for continued prosecution of other important CPS 
fisheries in which incidental catch of Pacific mackerel cannot be 
avoided.
    The NMFS West Coast Regional Administrator will publish a notice in 
the Federal Register announcing the date of any closure to either 
directed or incidental fishing. Additionally, to ensure the regulated 
community is informed of any closure, NMFS will also make announcements 
through other means available, including fax, email, and mail to 
fishermen, processors, and state fishery management agencies.
    On September 10, 2015, a proposed rule was published for this 
action and public comments solicited (80 FR 54507), with a comment 
period that ended on October 13, 2015. NMFS received two comments, 
explained below, regarding the proposed Pacific mackerel 
specifications. After consideration of public comment, no changes were 
made from the proposed rule. Detailed information on the fishery and 
the stock assessment are found in the reports ``Pacific Mackerel 
(Scomber japonicus) Stock Assessment for USA Management in the 2015-16 
Fishing Year'' and ``Pacific Mackerel Biomass Projection Estimate for 
USA Management (2015-16)'' (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Comments and Responses

    Comment 1: The commenter expressed general support for this action, 
but only if the fishery is potentially subject to overfishing or if the 
decrease in harvest levels does not put people out of work.
    Response: Fisheries have the potential to overfish Pacific mackerel 
if unregulated. NMFS does not anticipate that this action will have a 
significant adverse economic impact on fishermen in this fishery.
    Comment 2: The commenter did not comment on the proposed action 
specifically, but discussed the management of commercial forage fish 
off the West Coast generally, specifically referencing concern over the 
status of Pacific sardine and northern anchovy stocks.
    Response: NMFS notes that Pacific mackerel is not overfished, that 
overfishing is not occurring, and that the best available science was 
used in the determination of these catch levels. NMFS agrees that the 
consideration of ecosystem interactions, such as the role of forage 
species and ecological conditions, along with social and economic 
factors are critical when making fishery management decisions.

[[Page 8859]]

As such, NMFS has been working to better understand diet linkages 
between forage fish species and higher order predators to enhance the 
ecosystem science used in our fisheries management.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act, the Assistant Administrator, NMFS, has 
determined that this final rule is consistent with the CPS FMP, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act, and other applicable law.
    These specifications are exempt from review under Executive Order 
12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis was not required and none was prepared.
    This action does not contain a collection-of-information 
requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

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

    Dated: February 12, 2016.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-03610 Filed 2-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P