Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Aggregated Large Coastal Shark and Hammerhead Shark Management Group Retention Limit Adjustment, 18541-18543 [2016-07294]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 62 / Thursday, March 31, 2016 / Rules and Regulations Issued in Washington, DC on, March 25, 2016, under the authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.97. Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. [FR Doc. 2016–07199 Filed 3–30–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 130403320–4891–02] RIN 0648–XE542 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; SnapperGrouper Resources of the South Atlantic; 2016–2017 Recreational Fishing Season for Black Sea Bass National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; recreational season length. AGENCY: NMFS announces that the length of the recreational season for black sea bass in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic will extend throughout the 2016–2017 fishing year. Announcing the length of recreational season for black sea bass is one of the accountability measures (AMs) for the recreational sector. This announcement allows recreational fishermen to maximize their opportunity to harvest the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for black sea bass during the fishing season while managing harvest to protect the black sea bass resource. DATES: This rule is effective from 12:01 a.m., local time, April 1, 2016, until 12:01 a.m., local time, April 1, 2017, unless changed by subsequent notification in the Federal Register. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nikhil Mehta, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727–824–5305, email: nikhil.mehta@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery includes black sea bass in the South Atlantic and is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the SnapperGrouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP). The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council prepared the FMP and the FMP is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:13 Mar 30, 2016 Jkt 238001 Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622. The final rule implementing Regulatory Amendment 14 to the FMP changed the recreational fishing season for black sea bass from June 1 through May 31 to April 1 through March 31 (79 FR 66316, November 7, 2014). The final rule also revised the recreational AMs for black sea bass. Prior to the start of each recreational fishing year on April 1, NMFS will project the length of the recreational fishing season based on when NMFS projects the recreational ACL to be met and will announce the recreational season end date in the Federal Register (50 CFR 622.193(e)(2)). The purpose of this revised AM is to implement a more predictable recreational season length while still constraining harvest at or below the recreational ACL to protect the stock from experiencing adverse biological consequences. The recreational ACL for the 2016– 2017 fishing year is 848,455 lb (384,853 kg), gutted weight, 1,001,177 lb (454,126 kg), round weight, and was established through the final rule for Regulatory Amendment 19 to the FMP on September 23, 2013 (78 FR 58249). In the 2015–2016 fishing year, harvest levels of black sea bass were not close to reaching the recreational ACL of 876,254 lb (397,462 kg), gutted weight, 1,033,980 lb (469,005 kg) round weight, and based on landings from the 2013– 2014 through 2015–2016 fishing years, NMFS therefore estimates that the recreational ACL will not be met in the 2016–2017 fishing year. Accordingly, the recreational sector for black sea bass is not expected to close as a result of reaching its ACL, and the season end date for recreational fishing for black sea bass in the South Atlantic EEZ is the end of the current fishing year, March 31, 2017. Classification The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of South Atlantic black sea bass and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(e)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued without opportunity for prior notice and comment. This action responds to the best scientific information available. The PO 00000 Frm 00095 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 18541 Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement the recreational season length constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), because prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this temporary rule is unnecessary. Such procedures are unnecessary, because the rule establishing the AM has already been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the recreational season length. For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 28, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–07292 Filed 3–28–16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150413357–5999–02] RIN 0648–XE531 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Aggregated Large Coastal Shark and Hammerhead Shark Management Group Retention Limit Adjustment National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment. AGENCY: NMFS is adjusting the commercial aggregated large coastal shark (LCS) and hammerhead shark management group retention limit for directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region from 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 3 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This action is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. The retention limit will remain at 3 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip in the Atlantic region through the rest of the 2016 fishing season or until NMFS announces via a notice in the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31MRR1.SGM 31MRR1 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES 18542 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 62 / Thursday, March 31, 2016 / Rules and Regulations Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure is warranted. This retention limit adjustment will affect anyone with a directed shark limited access permit fishing for LCS in the Atlantic region. DATES: This retention limit adjustment is effective at 11:30 p.m. local time April 2, 2016, through the end of the 2016 fishing season on December 31, 2016, or until NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure, if warranted. ´ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Guy DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-Geisz, 301– 427–8503; fax 301–713–1917. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Atlantic shark fisheries are managed under the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). Under § 635.24(a)(8), NMFS may adjust the commercial retention limit in the shark fisheries during the fishing season. Before making any adjustment, NMFS must consider specified regulatory criteria and other relevant factors (see § 635.24(a)(8)(i)–(vi)). After considering these criteria as discussed below, we have concluded that reducing the retention limit of the Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups for directed shark limited access permit holders will slow the fishery catch rates to allow the fishery throughout the Atlantic region to remain open for the rest of the year. Since landings have exceeded 20 percent of the quota and are projected to reach 80 percent before the end of the 2016 fishing season, we are reducing the commercial Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark retention limit from 36 to 3 LCS other than sandbar per vessel per trip. We considered the inseason retention limit adjustment criteria listed in § 635.24(a)(8), which includes: (i) The amount of remaining shark quota in the relevant area, region, or sub-region, to date, based on dealer reports. Based on dealer reports, 6.6 mt dw or 24 percent of the 27.1 mt dw shark quota for the hammerhead management group has already been harvested in the Atlantic region. This means that approximately 76 percent of the quota remains. These levels so early in the season indicate that the quota is being harvested too quickly and unless action is taken to slow harvest, fishermen in VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:13 Mar 30, 2016 Jkt 238001 the Atlantic region may not have an opportunity to fish in the region for the remainder of the year. (ii) The catch rates of the relevant shark species/complexes in the region or sub-region, to date, based on dealer reports; Based on the average catch rate of landings data from dealer reports, the amount of hammerhead sharks harvested on a daily basis is high. While fishermen are landing sharks within their per-trip limit of 36 fish per trip on a given day, they are making multiple trips a day that overall result in high numbers of hammerheads being caught rapidly throughout the fishery. This daily average catch rate means that hammerhead sharks are being harvested too quickly to ensure fair fishing opportunities throughout the season. If the per trip limit is left unchanged, hammerhead sharks would likely be harvested at such a high rate that there would not be enough hammerhead shark quota remaining to keep the fishery open year-round, precluding equitable fishing opportunities for the entire Atlantic region. (iii) Estimated date of fishery closure based on when the landings are projected to reach 80 percent of the quota given the realized catch rates; Once the landings reach 80 percent of the quota, we would have to close the hammerhead management group as well as any other management group with ‘‘linked quotas’’ such as the Atlantic aggregated LCS management group. Current catch rates would likely result in hitting this limit by mid-May. A closure so early in the year would preclude fishing opportunities in the Atlantic region for the remainder of the year. (iv) Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments; Reducing the retention limit for the aggregated LCS and hammerhead management group from 36 to 3 LCS per trip would allow for fishing opportunities later in the year consistent with the FMP’s objectives to ensure equitable fishing opportunities throughout the fishing season and to limit bycatch and discards. (v) Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migratory patterns of the relevant shark species based on scientific and fishery-based knowledge; The directed shark fisheries in the Atlantic region exhibit a mixed species composition, with a high abundance of aggregated LCS caught in conjunction with hammerhead sharks. As a result, by slowing the harvest and reducing landings on a per-trip basis, both PO 00000 Frm 00096 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 fisheries could remain open for the remainder of the year. (vi) Effects of catch rates in one part of a region or sub-region precluding vessels in another part of that region or sub-region from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the relevant quota. Based on dealer reports, and given NMFS’ notice to the regulated community (80 FR 74999) that a goal of this year’s fishery was to ensure fishing opportunities throughout the fishing season, we have concluded that the hammerhead shark quota is being harvested too quickly to meet conservation and management goals for the fishery. If the harvest of these species is not slowed down, we estimate that the fishery would close in midMay. Closing the fishery so early would prevent fishermen from other parts of the Atlantic region from having the same opportunities to harvest the hammerhead shark quota later in the year. On December 1, 2015 (80 FR 74999), we announced that the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark fisheries management groups for the Atlantic region would open on January 1 with a quota of 168.9 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (372,552 lb dw) and 27.1 mt dw (59,736 lb dw), respectively. In that final rule, NMFS also announced that if it appeared that the quota is being harvested too quickly, precluding fishing opportunities throughout the entire region (e.g., if approximately 20 percent of the quota is caught at the beginning of the year), we would reduce the commercial retention limit to 3 LCS other than sandbar sharks. Dealer reports through March 18, 2016, indicate that 6.6 mt dw or 24 percent of the available quota for the hammerhead shark fishery has been harvested. If the average catch rate indicated by these reports continues, the landings could reach 80 percent of the quota by midMay. Once the landings reach 80 percent of the quota, consistent with § 635.28(b)(3) (‘‘linked quotas’’), NMFS would close any species and/or management group of a linked group. Accordingly, as of 11:30 p.m. local time April 4, 2016, NMFS is reducing the retention limit for the commercial aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region for directed shark limited access permit holders from 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 3 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. If the vessel is properly permitted to operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip, in which case the recreational retention limits for sharks E:\FR\FM\31MRR1.SGM 31MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 62 / Thursday, March 31, 2016 / Rules and Regulations and ‘‘no sale’’ provisions apply (§ 635.22(a) and (c)), or if the vessel possesses a valid shark research permit under § 635.32 and a NMFS-approved observer is onboard, then they are exempted from the retention limit adjustment. All other retention limits and shark fisheries in the Atlantic region remain unchanged. This retention limit will remain at 3 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip for the rest of the 2016 fishing season, or until NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery closure, is warranted. The boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic region is defined at § 635.27(b)(1) as a line beginning on the East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25°20.4′ N. lat, proceeding due east. Any water and land to the north and east of that boundary is considered, for the purposes of quota monitoring and setting of quotas, to be within the Atlantic region. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Classification Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:13 Mar 30, 2016 Jkt 238001 NOAA (AA), finds there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Providing prior notice and an opportunity for comment is impracticable because the catch and landings that need to be reduced are ongoing and must be reduced immediately to meet conservation and management objectives for the fishery. Continued fishing at those levels during the time that notice and comment takes place would result in the much of the quota being landed and could result in a very early closure of the fishery, contrary to the objectives of the existing conservation and management measures in place for those species. These objectives include ensuring that fishing opportunities are equitable and that bycatch and discards are minimized. Allowing fishing to continue at the existing rates even for a limited time is contrary to these objectives and would thus be impracticable. It would also be contrary to the public interest because, if the quota continues to be caught at the current levels the quota will not last throughout the remainder of the fishing PO 00000 Frm 00097 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 18543 season and a larger number of fishermen will essentially be denied the opportunity to land sharks from the quota. Furthermore, continued catch at the current rates, even for a limited period, could result in eventual quota overharvests, since it is still so early in the fishing year. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) for the same reasons. This action is required under § 635.28(b)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. We have concluded that reducing the retention limit of the Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups for directed shark limited access permit holders will slow the fishery catch rates to allow the fishery throughout the Atlantic region to remain open for the rest of the year Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 28, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–07294 Filed 3–28–16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\31MRR1.SGM 31MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 62 (Thursday, March 31, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 18541-18543]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-07294]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 150413357-5999-02]
RIN 0648-XE531


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Aggregated Large 
Coastal Shark and Hammerhead Shark Management Group Retention Limit 
Adjustment

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is adjusting the commercial aggregated large coastal 
shark (LCS) and hammerhead shark management group retention limit for 
directed shark limited access permit holders in the Atlantic region 
from 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip to 3 LCS 
other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip. This action is based on 
consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding 
inseason adjustments. The retention limit will remain at 3 LCS other 
than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip in the Atlantic region through 
the rest of the 2016 fishing season or until NMFS announces via a 
notice in the

[[Page 18542]]

Federal Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery 
closure is warranted. This retention limit adjustment will affect 
anyone with a directed shark limited access permit fishing for LCS in 
the Atlantic region.

DATES: This retention limit adjustment is effective at 11:30 p.m. local 
time April 2, 2016, through the end of the 2016 fishing season on 
December 31, 2016, or until NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal 
Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery 
closure, if warranted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gu[yacute] DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-
Geisz, 301-427-8503; fax 301-713-1917.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Atlantic shark fisheries are managed under 
the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management 
Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing regulations (50 CFR part 
635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
    Under Sec.  635.24(a)(8), NMFS may adjust the commercial retention 
limit in the shark fisheries during the fishing season. Before making 
any adjustment, NMFS must consider specified regulatory criteria and 
other relevant factors (see Sec.  635.24(a)(8)(i)-(vi)). After 
considering these criteria as discussed below, we have concluded that 
reducing the retention limit of the Atlantic aggregated LCS and 
hammerhead management groups for directed shark limited access permit 
holders will slow the fishery catch rates to allow the fishery 
throughout the Atlantic region to remain open for the rest of the year. 
Since landings have exceeded 20 percent of the quota and are projected 
to reach 80 percent before the end of the 2016 fishing season, we are 
reducing the commercial Atlantic aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark 
retention limit from 36 to 3 LCS other than sandbar per vessel per 
trip.
    We considered the inseason retention limit adjustment criteria 
listed in Sec.  635.24(a)(8), which includes:
    (i) The amount of remaining shark quota in the relevant area, 
region, or sub-region, to date, based on dealer reports.
    Based on dealer reports, 6.6 mt dw or 24 percent of the 27.1 mt dw 
shark quota for the hammerhead management group has already been 
harvested in the Atlantic region. This means that approximately 76 
percent of the quota remains. These levels so early in the season 
indicate that the quota is being harvested too quickly and unless 
action is taken to slow harvest, fishermen in the Atlantic region may 
not have an opportunity to fish in the region for the remainder of the 
year.
    (ii) The catch rates of the relevant shark species/complexes in the 
region or sub-region, to date, based on dealer reports;
    Based on the average catch rate of landings data from dealer 
reports, the amount of hammerhead sharks harvested on a daily basis is 
high. While fishermen are landing sharks within their per-trip limit of 
36 fish per trip on a given day, they are making multiple trips a day 
that overall result in high numbers of hammerheads being caught rapidly 
throughout the fishery. This daily average catch rate means that 
hammerhead sharks are being harvested too quickly to ensure fair 
fishing opportunities throughout the season. If the per trip limit is 
left unchanged, hammerhead sharks would likely be harvested at such a 
high rate that there would not be enough hammerhead shark quota 
remaining to keep the fishery open year-round, precluding equitable 
fishing opportunities for the entire Atlantic region.
    (iii) Estimated date of fishery closure based on when the landings 
are projected to reach 80 percent of the quota given the realized catch 
rates;
    Once the landings reach 80 percent of the quota, we would have to 
close the hammerhead management group as well as any other management 
group with ``linked quotas'' such as the Atlantic aggregated LCS 
management group. Current catch rates would likely result in hitting 
this limit by mid-May. A closure so early in the year would preclude 
fishing opportunities in the Atlantic region for the remainder of the 
year.
    (iv) Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of 
the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments;
    Reducing the retention limit for the aggregated LCS and hammerhead 
management group from 36 to 3 LCS per trip would allow for fishing 
opportunities later in the year consistent with the FMP's objectives to 
ensure equitable fishing opportunities throughout the fishing season 
and to limit bycatch and discards.
    (v) Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migratory 
patterns of the relevant shark species based on scientific and fishery-
based knowledge;
    The directed shark fisheries in the Atlantic region exhibit a mixed 
species composition, with a high abundance of aggregated LCS caught in 
conjunction with hammerhead sharks. As a result, by slowing the harvest 
and reducing landings on a per-trip basis, both fisheries could remain 
open for the remainder of the year.
    (vi) Effects of catch rates in one part of a region or sub-region 
precluding vessels in another part of that region or sub-region from 
having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the relevant 
quota.
    Based on dealer reports, and given NMFS' notice to the regulated 
community (80 FR 74999) that a goal of this year's fishery was to 
ensure fishing opportunities throughout the fishing season, we have 
concluded that the hammerhead shark quota is being harvested too 
quickly to meet conservation and management goals for the fishery. If 
the harvest of these species is not slowed down, we estimate that the 
fishery would close in mid-May. Closing the fishery so early would 
prevent fishermen from other parts of the Atlantic region from having 
the same opportunities to harvest the hammerhead shark quota later in 
the year.
    On December 1, 2015 (80 FR 74999), we announced that the aggregated 
LCS and hammerhead shark fisheries management groups for the Atlantic 
region would open on January 1 with a quota of 168.9 metric tons (mt) 
dressed weight (dw) (372,552 lb dw) and 27.1 mt dw (59,736 lb dw), 
respectively. In that final rule, NMFS also announced that if it 
appeared that the quota is being harvested too quickly, precluding 
fishing opportunities throughout the entire region (e.g., if 
approximately 20 percent of the quota is caught at the beginning of the 
year), we would reduce the commercial retention limit to 3 LCS other 
than sandbar sharks. Dealer reports through March 18, 2016, indicate 
that 6.6 mt dw or 24 percent of the available quota for the hammerhead 
shark fishery has been harvested. If the average catch rate indicated 
by these reports continues, the landings could reach 80 percent of the 
quota by mid-May. Once the landings reach 80 percent of the quota, 
consistent with Sec.  635.28(b)(3) (``linked quotas''), NMFS would 
close any species and/or management group of a linked group.
    Accordingly, as of 11:30 p.m. local time April 4, 2016, NMFS is 
reducing the retention limit for the commercial aggregated LCS and 
hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region for directed 
shark limited access permit holders from 36 LCS other than sandbar 
sharks per vessel per trip to 3 LCS other than sandbar sharks per 
vessel per trip. If the vessel is properly permitted to operate as a 
charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip, 
in which case the recreational retention limits for sharks

[[Page 18543]]

and ``no sale'' provisions apply (Sec.  635.22(a) and (c)), or if the 
vessel possesses a valid shark research permit under Sec.  635.32 and a 
NMFS-approved observer is onboard, then they are exempted from the 
retention limit adjustment.
    All other retention limits and shark fisheries in the Atlantic 
region remain unchanged. This retention limit will remain at 3 LCS 
other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip for the rest of the 2016 
fishing season, or until NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal 
Register another adjustment to the retention limit or a fishery 
closure, is warranted.
    The boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic 
region is defined at Sec.  635.27(b)(1) as a line beginning on the East 
Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25[deg]20.4' N. lat, proceeding due 
east. Any water and land to the north and east of that boundary is 
considered, for the purposes of quota monitoring and setting of quotas, 
to be within the Atlantic region.

Classification

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds there is good cause to waive prior notice 
and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and 
comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. 
Providing prior notice and an opportunity for comment is impracticable 
because the catch and landings that need to be reduced are ongoing and 
must be reduced immediately to meet conservation and management 
objectives for the fishery. Continued fishing at those levels during 
the time that notice and comment takes place would result in the much 
of the quota being landed and could result in a very early closure of 
the fishery, contrary to the objectives of the existing conservation 
and management measures in place for those species. These objectives 
include ensuring that fishing opportunities are equitable and that 
bycatch and discards are minimized. Allowing fishing to continue at the 
existing rates even for a limited time is contrary to these objectives 
and would thus be impracticable. It would also be contrary to the 
public interest because, if the quota continues to be caught at the 
current levels the quota will not last throughout the remainder of the 
fishing season and a larger number of fishermen will essentially be 
denied the opportunity to land sharks from the quota. Furthermore, 
continued catch at the current rates, even for a limited period, could 
result in eventual quota overharvests, since it is still so early in 
the fishing year. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day 
delay in effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) for the same 
reasons. This action is required under Sec.  635.28(b)(2) and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866. We have concluded that 
reducing the retention limit of the Atlantic aggregated LCS and 
hammerhead management groups for directed shark limited access permit 
holders will slow the fishery catch rates to allow the fishery 
throughout the Atlantic region to remain open for the rest of the year

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

    Dated: March 28, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-07294 Filed 3-28-16; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P