International Affairs; U.S. Fishing Opportunities in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area, 10218-10222 [2016-04341]

Download as PDF 10218 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 39 / Monday, February 29, 2016 / Notices group for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take action to address the emergency. Special Accommodations This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kathy Pereira at the Gulf Council Office (see ADDRESSES), at least 5 working days prior to the meeting. Dated: February 24, 2016. Jeffrey N. Lonergan, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–04316 Filed 2–26–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE466 International Affairs; U.S. Fishing Opportunities in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Feb 26, 2016 Jkt 238001 Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notification of U.S. fishing opportunities. We are announcing 2016 fishing opportunities in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area. This action is necessary to make fishing privileges available on an equitable basis. The intended effect of this notice is to alert U.S. fishing vessels of the NAFO fishing opportunities, to relay the available quotas available to U.S. participants, and to outline the process and requirements for vessels to apply to participate in the 2016 NAFO fishery. DATES: Effective January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016. Expressions of interest regarding fishing opportunities in NAFO will be accepted through March 15, 2016. ADDRESSES: Expressions of interest regarding U.S. fishing opportunities in NAFO should be made in writing to John K. Bullard, U.S. Commissioner to NAFO, NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office at 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930 (phone: 978–281–9315, email: John.Bullard@ noaa.gov). Information relating to chartering vessels of another NAFO Contracting Party, transferring NAFO fishing opportunities to or from another NAFO Contracting Party, or U.S. participation in NAFO is available from Patrick E. Moran in the NMFS Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection at 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (phone: 301– 427–8370, fax: 301–713–2313, email: Pat.Moran@noaa.gov). Additional information about NAFO fishing opportunities, NAFO SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Conservation and Enforcement Measures (CEM), and the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act (HSFCA) Permit required for NAFO participation is available from Michael Ruccio, in the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office at 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930 (phone: 978–281–9104, fax: 978–281–9135, email: Michael.Ruccio@noaa.gov) and online from NAFO at http:// www.nafo.int. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Ruccio, (978) 281–9104. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: General NAFO Background The United States is a Contracting Party to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization or NAFO. NAFO is an intergovernmental fisheries science and management body whose convention on Northwest Atlantic Fisheries applies to most fishery resources in international waters of the Northwest Atlantic except salmon, tunas/marlins, whales, and sedentary species such as shellfish. Currently, NAFO has 12 Members from North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. In addition to the United States, the remaining three coastal states bordering the Convention Area are members: Canada, France (in respect of St. Pierre et Miquelon), and Denmark (in respect of Faroe Islands and Greenland). NAFO’s Fisheries Commission is responsible for the management and conservation of the fishery resources of the Regulatory Area (waters outside the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). Figure 1 shows the NAFO Regulatory Area. BILLING CODE 3510–22–C E:\FR\FM\29FEN1.SGM 29FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 39 / Monday, February 29, 2016 / Notices As a Contracting Party within NAFO, the United States may be allocated specific catch quotas or effort allocations for certain species in specific areas within the NAFO Regulatory Area and may participate in fisheries for other species for which we have not received a specific quota. Stocks for which the United States does not receive an allocation, known as the ‘‘Others’’ allocation under the Convention, are shared access between all NAFO Contracting Parties. Additional information on NAFO can be found online at: http://www.nafo.int/ about/frames/about.html. The 2016 NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures (CEM) that outline the fishery regulations, Total Allowable Catches (TACs or ‘‘quotas’’) and other information about the fishery program are available online at: http:// VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Feb 26, 2016 Jkt 238001 www.nafo.int/fisheries/frames/ fishery.html. This notice is intended to announce the specific 2016 stocks for which the United States has an allocation under NAFO, describe the fishing opportunities under the ‘other’ NAFO allocation available for U.S. vessels, and to outline the application process and other requirements for U.S. vessels that wish to participate in the 2016 NAFO fisheries. What NAFO fishing opportunities are available to U.S. fishing vessels? The principal species managed by NAFO are Atlantic cod, yellowtail and witch flounders, Acadian redfish, American plaice, Greenland halibut, white hake, capelin, shrimp, skates, and Illex squid. NAFO maintains conservation measures for fisheries on these species occurring in its Regulatory PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Area, including TACs for these managed species that are allocated among NAFO Contracting Parties. The United States received quota allocations at the 2015 NAFO Annual Meeting for two stocks to be fished during 2016. The species, location by NAFO subarea, and allocation (in metric tons (mt)) of these 2016 U.S. fishing opportunities are as follows: Redfish .............. Squid (Illex) ....... Division 3M ....... Subareas 3 & 4 69 mt. 453 mt. In addition, the United States has been transferred 1,000 mt of NAFO Division 3LNO yellowtail flounder from Canada’s 2016 quota allocation consistent with a bilateral arrangement between the two countries. The TACs which may be available to U.S. vessels for stocks where the United States has not been allocated quota (i.e., E:\FR\FM\29FEN1.SGM 29FEN1 EN29FE16.016</GPH> asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 3510–22–C 10219 10220 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 39 / Monday, February 29, 2016 / Notices the ‘‘Others’’ allocation in Annex I.A of the CEM) are as follows: TABLE 1—2016 NAFO ‘‘OTHERS’’ ALLOCATION TACS—Continued TABLE 1—2016 NAFO ‘‘OTHERS’’ ALLOCATION TACS Species NAFO Division Cod ................ Redfish .......... Yellowtail Flounder. Witch Flounder. White Hake .... Skates ........... asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES TAC (mt) 794. 56 63 124 100 85 Note that the United States shares these allocations with other NAFO Contracting Parties, and access is on a first-come, first-served basis. Directed fishing is stopped by NAFO when the 22 ‘‘Others’’ TAC for a particular stock has been fully harvested. Additional directed quota for these 59 258 and other stocks managed within the 3NO ............... 3NO ............... 3LNO ............ Division Division Division Division For all other Annex I.A stocks where the U.S. has no specific quota the bycatch limit is, 2,500 kg or 10 percent unless a ban on fishing applies or the quota for the stock has been fully utilized. If the fishery for the stock is closed or a retention ban applies, the permitted bycatch limit is 1,250 kg or 5 percent. For the directed yellowtail flounder fishery in Divisions 3LNO (where the United States has a 1,000 mt yellowtail flounder allocation in 2016) vessels may retain 15 percent of American plaice. Opportunities to fish for species not listed above (i.e., species listed in Annex I.A of the 2016 NAFO CEM) but occurring within the NAFO Regulatory Area may also be available. U.S. fishermen interested in fishing for these other species should contact the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (see ADDRESSES) for additional information. Authorization to fish for such species will include permit-related conditions or restrictions, including but not limited to, minimum size requirements, bycatch-related measures, and catch limits. Any such conditions or restrictions will be designed to ensure the optimum utilization, longterm sustainability, and rational management and conservation of fishery resources in the NAFO Regulatory Area, consistent with the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, as well as the Amendment to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, which has been adopted by all NAFO Contracting Parties. 19:23 Feb 26, 2016 Squid 3_4 (Sub-Areas 3+4). TAC (mt) Cod .................................................. Witch Flounder ................................ Redfish ............................................ Cod .................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 NAFO Division Illex squid ...... 3L .................. 3LN ............... 3M ................. 3O ................. 3LNO ............ Species Jkt 238001 3M .................................... 3M .................................... 3LN .................................. 3NO .................................. 1,250 1,250 1,250 1,000 kg kg kg kg or or or or 5 5 5 4 percent, percent, percent, percent, Who can apply for these fishing opportunities? Expressions of interest to fish for any or all of the 2016 U.S. fishing opportunities in NAFO described above will be considered from all U.S. fishing interests (e.g., vessel owners, processors, agents, others). Applicants are urged to carefully review and thoroughly address the application requirements and selection criteria as detailed below. Expressions of interest should be directed in writing to Regional Administrator John Bullard (see ADDRESSES). What information is required in an application letter? Expressions of interest should include a detailed description of anticipated fishing operations in 2016. Descriptions should include, at a minimum: • Intended target species; • Proposed dates of fishing operations; • Vessels to be used to harvest fish, including the name, registration, and home port of the intended harvesting vessel(s); • The number of fishing personnel and their nationality involved in vessel operations; • Intended landing port or ports; including for ports outside of the United States, whether or not the product will be shipped to the United States for processing; • Processing facilities to be used; • Target market for harvested fish; and • Evidence demonstrating the ability of the applicant to successfully prosecute fishing operations in the PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NAFO Regulatory Area could be made available to U.S. vessels through industry-initiated chartering arrangements or transfers of quota from other NAFO Contracting Parties. U.S. vessels participating in NAFO may also retain bycatch of NAFO managed species to the following maximum amounts as outlined in Article 6 of the 2016 CEM. The percentage, by weight, is calculated as a percent for each stock of the total catch of species listed in Annex I.A (i.e., the NAFO managed stocks previously listed) retained onboard from the applicable division at the time of inspection, on the basis of logbook information: whichever whichever whichever whichever is is is is more. more. more. more. NAFO Regulatory Area. This may include descriptions of previously successful NAFO or domestic fisheries participation. Note that applicant U.S. vessels must possess or be eligible to receive a valid HSFCA permit. HSFCA permits are available from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. Information regarding other requirements for fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area is detailed below and is also available from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (see ADDRESSES). U.S. applicants wishing to harvest U.S. allocations using a vessel from another NAFO Contracting Party, or hoping to enter a chartering arrangement with a vessel from another NAFO Contracting Party, should see below for details on U.S. and NAFO requirements for such activities. If you have further questions regarding what information is required in an expression of interest, please contact Patrick Moran (see ADDRESSES). What criteria will be used in identifying successful applicants? Applicants demonstrating the greatest benefits to the United States through their intended operations will be most successful. Such benefits may include: • The use of U.S vessels to harvest fish in the NAFO Regulatory Area; • Detailed, positive impacts on U.S. employment as a result of the fishing, transport, or processing operations; • Use of U.S. processing facilities; • Transport, marketing, and sales of product within the United States; E:\FR\FM\29FEN1.SGM 29FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 39 / Monday, February 29, 2016 / Notices • Other ancillary, demonstrable benefits to U.S. businesses as a result of the fishing operation; and • Documentation of the physical characteristics and economics of the fishery for future use by the U.S. fishing industry. Other factors we may consider include but are not limited to: A documented history of successful fishing operations in NAFO or other similar fisheries, the previous compliance of the vessel with the NAFO CEM or other regulatory requirements, and for those applicants without NAFO or other international fishery history, a description of demonstrated harvest, processing, marketing, and regulatory compliance within domestic fisheries. To ensure equitable access by U.S. fishing interests, we may provide additional guidance or procedures, or may issue regulations designed to allocate fishing interests to one or more U.S. applicants from among qualified applicants. After reviewing all requests for allocations submitted, we may also decide not to grant any allocations if it is determined that no requests adequately meet the criteria described in this notice. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES How will I be notified if I am selected to participate in the 2016 NAFO fisheries? We will provide written responses to all applicants notifying them of their application status and, as needed for successful applicants, allocation awards will be made as quickly as possible so that we may notify NAFO and take other necessary actions to facilitate operations s in the regulatory area by U.S. fishing interests. Successful applicants will receive additional information from us on permit conditions and applicable regulations before starting 2016 fishing operations. What if I want to charter a vessel to fish available U.S. allocations? Under the bilateral arrangement with Canada, the United States may enter into a chartering (or other) arrangement with a Canadian vessel to harvest the transferred yellowtail flounder. For other NAFO-regulated species listed in Annexes I.A and I.B, the United States may enter into a chartering arrangement with a vessel from any other NAFO Contracting Party. Additionally, any U.S. vessel or fishing operation may enter into a chartering arrangement with any other NAFO Contracting Party. The United States and the other Contracting Party involved in a chartering arrangement must agree to the charter, and the NAFO Executive Secretary must be advised of the chartering VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Feb 26, 2016 Jkt 238001 arrangement before the commencement of any charter fishing operations. Any U.S. vessel or fishing operation interested in making use of the chartering provisions of NAFO must provide at least the following information: • The name and registration number of the U.S. vessel; • A copy of the charter agreement; • A detailed fishing plan; • A written letter of consent from the applicable NAFO Contracting Party; • The date from which the vessel is authorized to commence fishing; and • The duration of the charter (not to exceed six months). Expressions of interest using another NAFO Contracting Party vessel under charter should be accompanied by a detailed description of anticipated benefits to the United States, as described above. Additional detail on chartering arrangements can be found in Article 26 of the 2016 CEM (http:// www.nafo.int/fisheries/frames/ cem.html). Any vessel from another Contracting Party wishing to enter into a chartering arrangement with the United States must be in full current compliance with the requirements outlined in the NAFO Convention and CEM. These requirements include, but are not limited to, submission of the following reports to the NAFO Executive Secretary: • Notification that the vessel is authorized by its flag state to fish within the NAFO Regulatory Area during 2016; • Provisional monthly catch reports for all vessels of that NAFO Contracting Party operating in the NAFO Regulatory Area; • Daily catch reports for each day fished by the subject vessel within the Regulatory Area; • Observer reports within 30 days following the completion of a fishing trip; and • An annual statement of actions taken by its flag state to comply with the NAFO Convention. The United States may also consider the vessel’s previous compliance with NAFO bycatch, reporting and other provisions, as outlined in the NAFO CEM, before authorizing the chartering arrangement. More details on NAFO requirements for chartering operations are available from Patrick Moran (see ADDRESSES). What if I want to arrange for a transfer of U.S. quota allocations to another NAFO party? Under NAFO rules in effect for 2016, the United States may transfer fishing opportunities by mutual agreement with PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 10221 another NAFO Contracting Party and with prior notification to the NAFO Executive Secretary. An applicant may request to arrange for any of the previously described U.S. opportunities to be transferred to another NAFO party, although such applications will likely be given lesser priority than those that involve more direct harvesting or processing by U.S. entities. Applications to arrange for a transfer of U.S. fishing opportunities should contain a letter of consent from the receiving NAFO Contracting Party, and should also be accompanied by a detailed description of anticipated benefits to the United States. As in the case of chartering operations, the United States may also consider a NAFO Contracting Party’s previous compliance with NAFO bycatch, reporting, and other provisions, as outlined in the NAFO CEM, before entering agreeing to a transfer. More details on NAFO requirements for transferring NAFO allocations are available from Patrick Moran (see ADDRESSES). What if I want to arrange to receive a transfer of NAFO quota allocations from another NAFO party? Under NAFO rules in effect for 2016, the United States may receive transfers of additional fishing opportunities from other NAFO Contracting Parties. We are required to provide a letter consenting to such a transfer and must provide notice to the NAFO Executive Secretary. In the event that an applicant is able to arrange for the transfer of additional fishing opportunities from another NAFO Contracting Party to the United States, the U.S. may agree to facilitate such a transfer. However, there is no guarantee that if an applicant has facilitated the transfer of quota from another Contracting Party to the United States, such applicant will receive authorization to fish for such quota. If quota is transferred to the United States, we may need to solicit new applications for the use of such quota. All applicable NAFO requirements for transfers must be met. As in the case of chartering operations, the United States may also consider a NAFO Contracting Party’s previous compliance with NAFO bycatch, reporting, and other provisions, as outlined in the NAFO CEM, before agreeing to accept a transfer. Any fishing quota or other harvesting opportunities received via this type of transfer are subject to all U.S and NAFO rules as detailed below. For more details on NAFO requirements for transferring NAFO allocations, contact Patrick Moran (see ADDRESSES). E:\FR\FM\29FEN1.SGM 29FEN1 10222 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 39 / Monday, February 29, 2016 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES What rules must I follow while fishing in the NAFO regulatory area? U.S. applicant vessels must be in possession of, or obtain, a valid HSFCA permit, which is available from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. All permitted vessels must comply with all applicable provisions of the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries and the CEM. We reserve the right to impose additional permit conditions that ensure compliance with the NAFO Convention and the CEM, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and any other applicable law. The CEM provisions include, but are not limited to: • Maintaining a fishing logbook with NAFO-designated entries (Annex II.A and Article 28); • Adhere to NAFO hail system requirements (Annexes II.D and II.F; Article 28; Article 30 part B) • Carry an approved on-board observer consistent with requirements of Article 30 part A; • Maintain and use a functioning, autonomous vessel monitoring system authorized by issuance of the HSFCA permit as required by Articles 29 and 30; • All relevant NAFO CEM requirements including minimum fish sizes, gear, bycatch retention and pertow move on provisions for exceeding bycatch limits in any one haul/set. Further details regarding U.S. and NAFO requirements are available from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, and can also be found in the 2016 NAFO CEM on the Internet (http://www.nafo.int/fisheries/frames/ cem.html). Note that vessels issued valid HSFCA permits under 50 CFR part 300 are exempt from certain domestic fisheries regulations governing fisheries in the Northeast United States found in 50 CFR part 648: Northeast multispecies and monkfish permit, mesh size, effortcontrol, and possession limit restrictions (§§ 648.4, 648.80, 648.82, 648.86, 648.87, 648.91, 648.92, and 648.94) while transiting the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with multispecies and/or monkfish on board the vessel, or landing multispecies and/ or monkfish in U.S. ports that were caught while fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area, provided: 1. The vessel operator has a letter of authorization issued by the Regional Administrator on board the vessel; 2. For the duration of the trip, the vessel fishes, except for transiting purposes, exclusively in the NAFO VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:23 Feb 26, 2016 Jkt 238001 Regulatory Area and does not harvest fish in, or possess fish harvested in, or from, the U.S. EEZ; 3. When transiting the U.S. EEZ, all gear is properly stowed and not available for immediate use as defined under § 648.2; and 4. The vessel operator complies with the provisions, conditions, and restrictions specified on the HSFCA permit and all NAFO CEM while fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area. Dated: February 24, 2016. John H. Henderschedt, Director, NOAA Fisheries Office of International, Affairs and Seafood Inspection. [FR Doc. 2016–04341 Filed 2–26–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Air Force U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board Notice of Meeting Department of the Air Force, Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. ACTION: Meeting notice. AGENCY: Under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), and 41 CFR 102–3.150, the Department of Defense announces that the United States Air Force (USAF) Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) Spring Board meeting will take place on 19 April 2016 at the 612th Air Operations Center, located at 2915 S Twelfth AF Drive, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 85707–4100. The meeting will occur from 7:30 a.m.– 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 19 April 2016. The session open to the general public will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on 19 April 2016. The purpose of this Air Force Scientific Advisory Board quarterly meeting is to conduct a midterm review of FY16 SAB studies, which consist of: (1) Directed Energy Maturity for Airborne Self-Defense Applications, (2) Data Analytics to Support Operational Decision Making, (3) Responding to Uncertain or Adaptive Threats in Electronic Warfare, and (4) Airspace Surveillance to Support A2/ AD Operations. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended, and 41 CFR 102–3.155, a number of sessions of the USAF SAB Spring Board meeting will be closed to the public because they will discuss classified information and matters covered by Section 552b of Title 5, United States Code, subsection (c), subparagraph (1). SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Any member of the public that wishes to attend this meeting or provide input to the USAF SAB must contact the USAF SAB meeting organizer at the phone number or email address listed below at least ten working days prior to the meeting date. Please ensure that you submit your written statement in accordance with 41 CFR 102–3.140(c) and section 10(a)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Statements being submitted in response to the agenda mentioned in this notice must be received by the USAF SAB meeting organizer at the address listed below at least five calendar days prior to the meeting commencement date. The USAF SAB meeting organizer will review all timely submissions and respond to them prior to the start of the meeting identified in this noice. Written statements received after this date may not be considered by the USAF SAB until the next scheduled meeting. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The USAF SAB meeting organizer, Major Mike Rigoni at, michael.j.rigoni.mil@ mail.mil or 240–612–5504, United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, 1500 West Perimeter Road, Ste. #3300, Joint Base Andrews, MD 20762. Henry Williams, Civ, DAF, Acting Air Force Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. 2016–04305 Filed 2–26–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–10–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD–2015–HA–0132] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request ACTION: Notice. The Department of Defense has submitted to OMB for clearance, the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act. DATES: Consideration will be given to all comments received by March 30, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Fred Licari, 571–372–0493. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title, Associated Form and OMB Number: DD Form 2876, TRICARE Prime Enrollment, Disenrollment, and Primary Care Manager (PCM) Change Form, OMB Control Number 0720–0008. Type of Request: Revision. Number of Respondents: 148,033. Responses per Respondent: 1. Annual Responses: 148,033. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29FEN1.SGM 29FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 39 (Monday, February 29, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 10218-10222]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-04341]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE466


International Affairs; U.S. Fishing Opportunities in the 
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area

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

ACTION: Notification of U.S. fishing opportunities.

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

SUMMARY: We are announcing 2016 fishing opportunities in the Northwest 
Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area. This action is 
necessary to make fishing privileges available on an equitable basis. 
The intended effect of this notice is to alert U.S. fishing vessels of 
the NAFO fishing opportunities, to relay the available quotas available 
to U.S. participants, and to outline the process and requirements for 
vessels to apply to participate in the 2016 NAFO fishery.

DATES: Effective January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016. 
Expressions of interest regarding fishing opportunities in NAFO will be 
accepted through March 15, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Expressions of interest regarding U.S. fishing opportunities 
in NAFO should be made in writing to John K. Bullard, U.S. Commissioner 
to NAFO, NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office at 55 Great 
Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930 (phone: 978-281-9315, email: 
John.Bullard@noaa.gov).
    Information relating to chartering vessels of another NAFO 
Contracting Party, transferring NAFO fishing opportunities to or from 
another NAFO Contracting Party, or U.S. participation in NAFO is 
available from Patrick E. Moran in the NMFS Office of International 
Affairs and Seafood Inspection at 1315 East-West Highway, Silver 
Spring, MD 20910 (phone: 301-427-8370, fax: 301-713-2313, email: 
Pat.Moran@noaa.gov).
    Additional information about NAFO fishing opportunities, NAFO 
Conservation and Enforcement Measures (CEM), and the High Seas Fishing 
Compliance Act (HSFCA) Permit required for NAFO participation is 
available from Michael Ruccio, in the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional 
Fisheries Office at 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930 
(phone: 978-281-9104, fax: 978-281-9135, email: 
Michael.Ruccio@noaa.gov) and online from NAFO at http://www.nafo.int.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Ruccio, (978) 281-9104.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

General NAFO Background

    The United States is a Contracting Party to the Northwest Atlantic 
Fisheries Organization or NAFO. NAFO is an intergovernmental fisheries 
science and management body whose convention on Northwest Atlantic 
Fisheries applies to most fishery resources in international waters of 
the Northwest Atlantic except salmon, tunas/marlins, whales, and 
sedentary species such as shellfish. Currently, NAFO has 12 Members 
from North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. In addition to the 
United States, the remaining three coastal states bordering the 
Convention Area are members: Canada, France (in respect of St. Pierre 
et Miquelon), and Denmark (in respect of Faroe Islands and Greenland). 
NAFO's Fisheries Commission is responsible for the management and 
conservation of the fishery resources of the Regulatory Area (waters 
outside the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). Figure 1 shows the NAFO 
Regulatory Area.
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C

[[Page 10219]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN29FE16.016

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C
    As a Contracting Party within NAFO, the United States may be 
allocated specific catch quotas or effort allocations for certain 
species in specific areas within the NAFO Regulatory Area and may 
participate in fisheries for other species for which we have not 
received a specific quota. Stocks for which the United States does not 
receive an allocation, known as the ``Others'' allocation under the 
Convention, are shared access between all NAFO Contracting Parties.
    Additional information on NAFO can be found online at: http://www.nafo.int/about/frames/about.html. The 2016 NAFO Conservation and 
Enforcement Measures (CEM) that outline the fishery regulations, Total 
Allowable Catches (TACs or ``quotas'') and other information about the 
fishery program are available online at: http://www.nafo.int/fisheries/frames/fishery.html.
    This notice is intended to announce the specific 2016 stocks for 
which the United States has an allocation under NAFO, describe the 
fishing opportunities under the `other' NAFO allocation available for 
U.S. vessels, and to outline the application process and other 
requirements for U.S. vessels that wish to participate in the 2016 NAFO 
fisheries.

What NAFO fishing opportunities are available to U.S. fishing vessels?

    The principal species managed by NAFO are Atlantic cod, yellowtail 
and witch flounders, Acadian redfish, American plaice, Greenland 
halibut, white hake, capelin, shrimp, skates, and Illex squid. NAFO 
maintains conservation measures for fisheries on these species 
occurring in its Regulatory Area, including TACs for these managed 
species that are allocated among NAFO Contracting Parties. The United 
States received quota allocations at the 2015 NAFO Annual Meeting for 
two stocks to be fished during 2016. The species, location by NAFO 
subarea, and allocation (in metric tons (mt)) of these 2016 U.S. 
fishing opportunities are as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Redfish...........................  Division 3M.........  69 mt.
Squid (Illex).....................  Subareas 3 & 4......  453 mt.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, the United States has been transferred 1,000 mt of 
NAFO Division 3LNO yellowtail flounder from Canada's 2016 quota 
allocation consistent with a bilateral arrangement between the two 
countries.
    The TACs which may be available to U.S. vessels for stocks where 
the United States has not been allocated quota (i.e.,

[[Page 10220]]

the ``Others'' allocation in Annex I.A of the CEM) are as follows:

              Table 1--2016 NAFO ``Others'' Allocation TACs
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Species                     NAFO Division        TAC (mt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cod................................  3L....................           56
Redfish............................  3LN...................           63
                                     3M....................          124
                                     3O....................          100
Yellowtail Flounder................  3LNO..................           85
Witch Flounder.....................  3NO...................           22
White Hake.........................  3NO...................           59
Skates.............................  3LNO..................          258
Illex squid........................  Squid 3_4 (Sub-Areas           794.
                                      3+4).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Note that the United States shares these allocations with other 
NAFO Contracting Parties, and access is on a first-come, first-served 
basis. Directed fishing is stopped by NAFO when the ``Others'' TAC for 
a particular stock has been fully harvested.
    Additional directed quota for these and other stocks managed within 
the NAFO Regulatory Area could be made available to U.S. vessels 
through industry-initiated chartering arrangements or transfers of 
quota from other NAFO Contracting Parties.
    U.S. vessels participating in NAFO may also retain bycatch of NAFO 
managed species to the following maximum amounts as outlined in Article 
6 of the 2016 CEM. The percentage, by weight, is calculated as a 
percent for each stock of the total catch of species listed in Annex 
I.A (i.e., the NAFO managed stocks previously listed) retained onboard 
from the applicable division at the time of inspection, on the basis of 
logbook information:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cod...........................  Division 3M......  1,250 kg or 5
                                                    percent, whichever
                                                    is more.
Witch Flounder................  Division 3M......  1,250 kg or 5
                                                    percent, whichever
                                                    is more.
Redfish.......................  Division 3LN.....  1,250 kg or 5
                                                    percent, whichever
                                                    is more.
Cod...........................  Division 3NO.....  1,000 kg or 4
                                                    percent, whichever
                                                    is more.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For all other Annex I.A stocks where the U.S. has no specific quota 
the bycatch limit is, 2,500 kg or 10 percent unless a ban on fishing 
applies or the quota for the stock has been fully utilized. If the 
fishery for the stock is closed or a retention ban applies, the 
permitted bycatch limit is 1,250 kg or 5 percent.
    For the directed yellowtail flounder fishery in Divisions 3LNO 
(where the United States has a 1,000 mt yellowtail flounder allocation 
in 2016) vessels may retain 15 percent of American plaice.
    Opportunities to fish for species not listed above (i.e., species 
listed in Annex I.A of the 2016 NAFO CEM) but occurring within the NAFO 
Regulatory Area may also be available. U.S. fishermen interested in 
fishing for these other species should contact the NMFS Greater 
Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (see ADDRESSES) for additional 
information. Authorization to fish for such species will include 
permit-related conditions or restrictions, including but not limited 
to, minimum size requirements, bycatch-related measures, and catch 
limits. Any such conditions or restrictions will be designed to ensure 
the optimum utilization, long-term sustainability, and rational 
management and conservation of fishery resources in the NAFO Regulatory 
Area, consistent with the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation 
in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, as well as the Amendment to the 
Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic 
Fisheries, which has been adopted by all NAFO Contracting Parties.

Who can apply for these fishing opportunities?

    Expressions of interest to fish for any or all of the 2016 U.S. 
fishing opportunities in NAFO described above will be considered from 
all U.S. fishing interests (e.g., vessel owners, processors, agents, 
others). Applicants are urged to carefully review and thoroughly 
address the application requirements and selection criteria as detailed 
below. Expressions of interest should be directed in writing to 
Regional Administrator John Bullard (see ADDRESSES).

What information is required in an application letter?

    Expressions of interest should include a detailed description of 
anticipated fishing operations in 2016. Descriptions should include, at 
a minimum:
     Intended target species;
     Proposed dates of fishing operations;
     Vessels to be used to harvest fish, including the name, 
registration, and home port of the intended harvesting vessel(s);
     The number of fishing personnel and their nationality 
involved in vessel operations;
     Intended landing port or ports; including for ports 
outside of the United States, whether or not the product will be 
shipped to the United States for processing;
     Processing facilities to be used;
     Target market for harvested fish; and
     Evidence demonstrating the ability of the applicant to 
successfully prosecute fishing operations in the NAFO Regulatory Area. 
This may include descriptions of previously successful NAFO or domestic 
fisheries participation.
    Note that applicant U.S. vessels must possess or be eligible to 
receive a valid HSFCA permit. HSFCA permits are available from the NMFS 
Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. Information regarding other 
requirements for fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area is detailed below 
and is also available from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries 
Office (see ADDRESSES).
    U.S. applicants wishing to harvest U.S. allocations using a vessel 
from another NAFO Contracting Party, or hoping to enter a chartering 
arrangement with a vessel from another NAFO Contracting Party, should 
see below for details on U.S. and NAFO requirements for such 
activities. If you have further questions regarding what information is 
required in an expression of interest, please contact Patrick Moran 
(see ADDRESSES).

What criteria will be used in identifying successful applicants?

    Applicants demonstrating the greatest benefits to the United States 
through their intended operations will be most successful. Such 
benefits may include:
     The use of U.S vessels to harvest fish in the NAFO 
Regulatory Area;
     Detailed, positive impacts on U.S. employment as a result 
of the fishing, transport, or processing operations;
     Use of U.S. processing facilities;
     Transport, marketing, and sales of product within the 
United States;

[[Page 10221]]

     Other ancillary, demonstrable benefits to U.S. businesses 
as a result of the fishing operation; and
     Documentation of the physical characteristics and 
economics of the fishery for future use by the U.S. fishing industry.
    Other factors we may consider include but are not limited to: A 
documented history of successful fishing operations in NAFO or other 
similar fisheries, the previous compliance of the vessel with the NAFO 
CEM or other regulatory requirements, and for those applicants without 
NAFO or other international fishery history, a description of 
demonstrated harvest, processing, marketing, and regulatory compliance 
within domestic fisheries.
    To ensure equitable access by U.S. fishing interests, we may 
provide additional guidance or procedures, or may issue regulations 
designed to allocate fishing interests to one or more U.S. applicants 
from among qualified applicants. After reviewing all requests for 
allocations submitted, we may also decide not to grant any allocations 
if it is determined that no requests adequately meet the criteria 
described in this notice.

How will I be notified if I am selected to participate in the 2016 NAFO 
fisheries?

    We will provide written responses to all applicants notifying them 
of their application status and, as needed for successful applicants, 
allocation awards will be made as quickly as possible so that we may 
notify NAFO and take other necessary actions to facilitate operations s 
in the regulatory area by U.S. fishing interests. Successful applicants 
will receive additional information from us on permit conditions and 
applicable regulations before starting 2016 fishing operations.

What if I want to charter a vessel to fish available U.S. allocations?

    Under the bilateral arrangement with Canada, the United States may 
enter into a chartering (or other) arrangement with a Canadian vessel 
to harvest the transferred yellowtail flounder. For other NAFO-
regulated species listed in Annexes I.A and I.B, the United States may 
enter into a chartering arrangement with a vessel from any other NAFO 
Contracting Party. Additionally, any U.S. vessel or fishing operation 
may enter into a chartering arrangement with any other NAFO Contracting 
Party. The United States and the other Contracting Party involved in a 
chartering arrangement must agree to the charter, and the NAFO 
Executive Secretary must be advised of the chartering arrangement 
before the commencement of any charter fishing operations. Any U.S. 
vessel or fishing operation interested in making use of the chartering 
provisions of NAFO must provide at least the following information:
     The name and registration number of the U.S. vessel;
     A copy of the charter agreement;
     A detailed fishing plan;
     A written letter of consent from the applicable NAFO 
Contracting Party;
     The date from which the vessel is authorized to commence 
fishing; and
     The duration of the charter (not to exceed six months).
    Expressions of interest using another NAFO Contracting Party vessel 
under charter should be accompanied by a detailed description of 
anticipated benefits to the United States, as described above. 
Additional detail on chartering arrangements can be found in Article 26 
of the 2016 CEM (http://www.nafo.int/fisheries/frames/cem.html).
    Any vessel from another Contracting Party wishing to enter into a 
chartering arrangement with the United States must be in full current 
compliance with the requirements outlined in the NAFO Convention and 
CEM. These requirements include, but are not limited to, submission of 
the following reports to the NAFO Executive Secretary:
     Notification that the vessel is authorized by its flag 
state to fish within the NAFO Regulatory Area during 2016;
     Provisional monthly catch reports for all vessels of that 
NAFO Contracting Party operating in the NAFO Regulatory Area;
     Daily catch reports for each day fished by the subject 
vessel within the Regulatory Area;
     Observer reports within 30 days following the completion 
of a fishing trip; and
     An annual statement of actions taken by its flag state to 
comply with the NAFO Convention.
    The United States may also consider the vessel's previous 
compliance with NAFO bycatch, reporting and other provisions, as 
outlined in the NAFO CEM, before authorizing the chartering 
arrangement. More details on NAFO requirements for chartering 
operations are available from Patrick Moran (see ADDRESSES).

What if I want to arrange for a transfer of U.S. quota allocations to 
another NAFO party?

    Under NAFO rules in effect for 2016, the United States may transfer 
fishing opportunities by mutual agreement with another NAFO Contracting 
Party and with prior notification to the NAFO Executive Secretary. An 
applicant may request to arrange for any of the previously described 
U.S. opportunities to be transferred to another NAFO party, although 
such applications will likely be given lesser priority than those that 
involve more direct harvesting or processing by U.S. entities. 
Applications to arrange for a transfer of U.S. fishing opportunities 
should contain a letter of consent from the receiving NAFO Contracting 
Party, and should also be accompanied by a detailed description of 
anticipated benefits to the United States. As in the case of chartering 
operations, the United States may also consider a NAFO Contracting 
Party's previous compliance with NAFO bycatch, reporting, and other 
provisions, as outlined in the NAFO CEM, before entering agreeing to a 
transfer. More details on NAFO requirements for transferring NAFO 
allocations are available from Patrick Moran (see ADDRESSES).

What if I want to arrange to receive a transfer of NAFO quota 
allocations from another NAFO party?

    Under NAFO rules in effect for 2016, the United States may receive 
transfers of additional fishing opportunities from other NAFO 
Contracting Parties. We are required to provide a letter consenting to 
such a transfer and must provide notice to the NAFO Executive 
Secretary. In the event that an applicant is able to arrange for the 
transfer of additional fishing opportunities from another NAFO 
Contracting Party to the United States, the U.S. may agree to 
facilitate such a transfer. However, there is no guarantee that if an 
applicant has facilitated the transfer of quota from another 
Contracting Party to the United States, such applicant will receive 
authorization to fish for such quota. If quota is transferred to the 
United States, we may need to solicit new applications for the use of 
such quota. All applicable NAFO requirements for transfers must be met. 
As in the case of chartering operations, the United States may also 
consider a NAFO Contracting Party's previous compliance with NAFO 
bycatch, reporting, and other provisions, as outlined in the NAFO CEM, 
before agreeing to accept a transfer. Any fishing quota or other 
harvesting opportunities received via this type of transfer are subject 
to all U.S and NAFO rules as detailed below. For more details on NAFO 
requirements for transferring NAFO allocations, contact Patrick Moran 
(see ADDRESSES).

[[Page 10222]]

What rules must I follow while fishing in the NAFO regulatory area?

    U.S. applicant vessels must be in possession of, or obtain, a valid 
HSFCA permit, which is available from the NMFS Greater Atlantic 
Regional Fisheries Office. All permitted vessels must comply with all 
applicable provisions of the Convention on Future Multilateral 
Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries and the CEM. We reserve 
the right to impose additional permit conditions that ensure compliance 
with the NAFO Convention and the CEM, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act and any other applicable law.
    The CEM provisions include, but are not limited to:
     Maintaining a fishing logbook with NAFO-designated entries 
(Annex II.A and Article 28);
     Adhere to NAFO hail system requirements (Annexes II.D and 
II.F; Article 28; Article 30 part B)
     Carry an approved on-board observer consistent with 
requirements of Article 30 part A;
     Maintain and use a functioning, autonomous vessel 
monitoring system authorized by issuance of the HSFCA permit as 
required by Articles 29 and 30;
     All relevant NAFO CEM requirements including minimum fish 
sizes, gear, bycatch retention and per-tow move on provisions for 
exceeding bycatch limits in any one haul/set.
    Further details regarding U.S. and NAFO requirements are available 
from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, and can also 
be found in the 2016 NAFO CEM on the Internet (http://www.nafo.int/fisheries/frames/cem.html).
    Note that vessels issued valid HSFCA permits under 50 CFR part 300 
are exempt from certain domestic fisheries regulations governing 
fisheries in the Northeast United States found in 50 CFR part 648: 
Northeast multispecies and monkfish permit, mesh size, effort-control, 
and possession limit restrictions (Sec. Sec.  648.4, 648.80, 648.82, 
648.86, 648.87, 648.91, 648.92, and 648.94) while transiting the U.S. 
exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with multispecies and/or monkfish on 
board the vessel, or landing multispecies and/or monkfish in U.S. ports 
that were caught while fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area, provided:
    1. The vessel operator has a letter of authorization issued by the 
Regional Administrator on board the vessel;
    2. For the duration of the trip, the vessel fishes, except for 
transiting purposes, exclusively in the NAFO Regulatory Area and does 
not harvest fish in, or possess fish harvested in, or from, the U.S. 
EEZ;
    3. When transiting the U.S. EEZ, all gear is properly stowed and 
not available for immediate use as defined under Sec.  648.2; and
    4. The vessel operator complies with the provisions, conditions, 
and restrictions specified on the HSFCA permit and all NAFO CEM while 
fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area.

    Dated: February 24, 2016.
John H. Henderschedt,
Director, NOAA Fisheries Office of International, Affairs and Seafood 
Inspection.
[FR Doc. 2016-04341 Filed 2-26-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P