Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 17A, 22042-22044 [2016-08607]

Download as PDF 22042 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 72 / Thursday, April 14, 2016 / Proposed Rules Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We now announce that we are reopening the comment period for the proposed rule, in order to completely satisfy the notification requirements under the Act. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before June 13, 2016. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by May 31, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R4–ES–2015–0129, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on ‘‘Comment Now!’’ (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R4–ES–2015– 0129; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see Information Requested, below, for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Jennings, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office, 446 Neal Street, Cookeville, TN 38501; by telephone 931–528–6481; or by facsimile 931–528–7075. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background On September 15, 2015, we published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to list Platanthera integrilabia (white fringeless orchid) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (80 FR 55304). However, we have since determined that we did not completely satisfy the notice VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:22 Apr 13, 2016 Jkt 238001 requirements of 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(5) at the time of publication. Therefore, in order to ensure that we follow the proper procedures for notification in accordance with 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(5), so that there is adequate opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rule, we are reopening the comment period for an additional 60 days. Information Requested We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or information from other concerned governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. Please see the Information Requested section of the September 15, 2015, proposed listing rule (80 FR 55304) for a list of the topics on which we particularly seek comment. For more background on our proposed rule, see the September 15, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 55304), which is available at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (see ADDRESSES). If you previously submitted comments or information on the proposed rule, please do not resubmit them. We have incorporated them into the public record, and we will fully consider them in our final rulemaking. Our final determination concerning this proposed rulemaking will take into consideration all written comments and any additional information we receive. Please note that submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened species must be made ‘‘solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.’’ You may submit your comments and materials concerning the proposed rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES. If you submit information via http:// www.regulations.gov, your entire submission—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov. Please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing the proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Because we will consider all comments and information received during the public comment periods, our final determinations may differ from the proposal. Public Hearing Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, if requested. Requests must be received by the date specified above in DATES. Such requests must be sent to the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. We will schedule public hearings on this proposed rule, if any are requested, and announce the dates, times, and places of those hearings, as well as how to obtain reasonable accommodations, in the Federal Register and local newspapers at least 15 days before the hearing. Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: April 5, 2016. Noah Matson, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2016–08615 Filed 4–13–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 160222132–6132–01] RIN 0648–BF77 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 17A National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\14APP1.SGM 14APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 72 / Thursday, April 14, 2016 / Proposed Rules Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 17A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared and submitted by the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would extend the current Gulf commercial shrimp permit moratorium. The intent of this proposed rule and Amendment 17A is to protect federally managed Gulf shrimp stocks while promoting catch efficiency, economic efficiency, and stability in the fishery. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before May 16, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2016–0018’’ by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20160018, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Susan Gerhart, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of Amendment 17A, which includes an environmental assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_ fisheries/gulf_fisheries/shrimp/2016/ am17a/index.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Gerhart, telephone: 727–824– 5305, or email: Susan.Gerhart@ noaa.gov. Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:22 Apr 13, 2016 Jkt 238001 The shrimp fishery in the Gulf is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Management Measure Contained in This Proposed Rule This proposed rule would extend the Gulf shrimp permit moratorium until October 26, 2026. In 2002, through Amendment 11 to the FMP, the Council established a Federal commercial permit for all vessels harvesting shrimp from Federal waters of the Gulf (67 FR 51074, August 7, 2002). That permit was a Federal open access permit for Gulf shrimp. Approximately 2,951 vessels had been issued these open access permits by 2006. After the establishment of the permit, the shrimp fishery experienced economic losses, primarily because of high fuel costs and reduced shrimp prices caused by competition from imports. These economic losses resulted in decreasing numbers of vessels in the fishery, and consequently, reduction of effort. The Council determined that the number of vessels would likely decline to a point where the fishery again would become profitable for the remaining participants, and new vessels might want to enter the fishery. That additional effort could negate, or at least lessen, profitability for the fleet as a whole. Consequently, through Amendment 13 to the FMP, the Council established a 10-year moratorium on the issuance of new Federal commercial shrimp vessel permits (71 FR 56039, September 26, 2006). The moratorium on permits indirectly controls shrimping effort in federal waters and thereby bycatch levels. Allowing the moratorium to expire would remove this control. The moratorium on permits also indirectly controls shrimping effort in Federal waters and thereby, bycatch levels of juvenile red snapper and sea turtles. The final rule implementing the moratorium was effective October 26, 2006, and the moratorium permits became effective in March 2007. Extending the moratorium for an additional 10 years until October 26, 2026, is expected to maintain the biological, social, and economic benefits to the shrimp fishery achieved under the moratorium permit over the past 10 years. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 22043 Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 17A, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 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 (SBA) that this rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination is as follows. The current moratorium on Gulf shrimp permits became effective on October 26, 2006 (71 FR 56039, September 26, 2006). This proposed rule, if implemented, would extend the current moratorium on Federal Gulf shrimp permits until October 26, 2026. The purpose of this proposed rule is to maintain the biological, social, and economic benefits to the Gulf shrimp fishery achieved under the current moratorium. The objectives of this proposed rule are to protect federally managed Gulf shrimp stocks, and promote catch efficiency, economic efficiency, and stability in the Gulf shrimp fishery. The Magnuson-Stevens Act serves as the legal basis for the rule. This action is expected to directly regulate businesses that possess Federal Gulf shrimp moratorium permits. As of September 21, 2015, there were 1,464 vessels with valid or renewable Gulf shrimp moratorium permits. Although some permits are thought to be held by businesses with the same or substantively the same individual owners, and thus would likely be considered affiliated, ownership data for Gulf shrimp permit holders is incomplete and thus it is not currently feasible to accurately determine whether businesses that have these permits are in fact affiliated. NMFS is currently making changes to its permit application forms so that such determinations can be accurately made for future regulatory actions in this fishery. As a result of the incomplete ownership data, for purposes of this analysis, it is assumed each vessel is independently owned by a single business, which will result in an overestimate of the actual number of businesses directly regulated by this proposed rule. Thus, the number of businesses directly regulated by this proposed rule is estimated to be 1,464. Based on landings and economic data from 2013, which is the most current year for which complete economic data E:\FR\FM\14APP1.SGM 14APP1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 22044 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 72 / Thursday, April 14, 2016 / Proposed Rules is available, all of these businesses are thought to be primarily engaged in shellfish harvesting activities (e.g., Gulf shrimp, South Atlantic shrimp, and Atlantic sea scallops fisheries). In 2013, the primary source of gross revenue for approximately 84 percent of these businesses was landings from one or more of these shellfish fisheries, while the other 16 percent did not have commercial landings in any fishery. It is common for a certain percentage of businesses with Gulf shrimp permits to be commercially inactive in a given year, because of economic conditions in the Gulf shrimp fishery, other fisheries, or other industries (e.g., oil and gas) in which these businesses, their owners, and their crew sometimes participate. Some businesses may have also been inactive due to issues associated with the Deepwater Horizon MC252 event in 2010 and subsequent payouts from British Petroleum (BP). NMFS only possesses data on such payouts and other transfer payments for a sample of the permitted businesses, and thus cannot confirm the extent to which such payouts contributed to the lack of commercial harvesting activity by all of the inactive businesses. Given the lack of data to the contrary and because these businesses possess Gulf shrimp moratorium permits, for the purpose of this analysis, these 1,464 businesses are assumed to be primarily engaged in commercial shellfish harvesting. From 2011 through 2013, the greatest average annual gross revenue earned by a single business was approximately $2.48 million. On average, a business with a Gulf shrimp moratorium permit had an annual gross revenue of approximately $247,000, annual net revenue from operations (commercial fishing activities) of approximately $6,300, and an annual economic profit of approximately $37,000. All monetary estimates are in 2001 dollars. Average annual economic profit was greater between 2011 and 2013 compared to the 2006–2009 time period, and greater than net revenue from operations, partly because of non-fishing related income, mostly in the form of payouts from BP (i.e., transfer payments) due to the Deepwater Horizon MC252 event in 2010. Thus, although the average profit margin from 2011 through 2013 was nearly 15 percent of gross revenue, the average margin from operations was only about 2.6 percent. Though relatively small, this margin from operations is still greater than what these businesses earned between 2006 and 2009 when net revenue from operations was generally negative, on average. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:22 Apr 13, 2016 Jkt 238001 SBA has established size standards for all major industries, including commercial shellfish harvesting businesses (NAICS code 114112). A business primarily involved in shellfish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $5.5 million. Based on the information above, all businesses directly regulated by this proposed rule are determined to be small businesses for the purpose of this analysis. Therefore, it is determined that this proposed rule will affect a substantial number of small businesses. The number of businesses with Gulf shrimp moratorium permits that had shrimp landings from offshore waters in the Gulf, and, in turn, the level of fishing effort in offshore waters, significantly decreased from 2002 through 2009. As used in this section and Amendment 17A, offshore waters are waters that are seaward of the demarcation lines established under the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, which define boundaries across inland waters, such as harbor mouths and inlets, for navigation purposes. Also, businesses had negative net revenue from their operations and generally earned economic losses on average from 2006 through 2009. However, the number of active vessels and, in turn, effort in the offshore Gulf shrimp fishery generally stabilized after 2010. Although transfer payments from BP as a result of the Deepwater Horizon MC252 event helped to increase economic profits from 2011 through 2013, the increases in net revenue from operations during that time are thought to have been caused primarily by lower fuel prices, higher demand for and thus higher prices for shrimp, and higher catch rates. These higher catch rates are directly attributable to the reductions in effort. To maintain those higher catch rates, effort must at least remain stable. Because net revenue from operations and economic profit have been positive in recent years, if the permit moratorium was not extended and the fishery became subject to open access Gulf shrimp permits, it is possible that the number of active vessels and effort in the offshore fishery would increase, which would be expected to reduce catch rates and, in turn, net revenue from operations and economic profits. Thus, the proposed extension of the moratorium on Gulf shrimp permits for an additional 10 years is expected to result in greater net revenue from PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 operations and economic profit than if the shrimp moratorium permit program was allowed to expire. Based on the information above, a reduction in profits for a substantial number of small entities is not expected as a result of this rule. Thus, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Commercial fisheries, Fishing, Gulf, Permits, Shrimp. Dated: April 11, 2016. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.50, revise the introductory text of paragraph (b) to read as follows: ■ § 622.50 Permits, permit moratorium, and endorsements. * * * * * (b) Moratorium on commercial vessel permits for Gulf shrimp. The provisions of this paragraph (b) are applicable through October 26, 2026. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2016–08607 Filed 4–13–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150817722–6304–01] RIN 0648–BF10 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Archival Tag Management Measures National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS is proposing to revise the regulations that currently require persons surgically implanting archival SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\14APP1.SGM 14APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 72 (Thursday, April 14, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 22042-22044]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-08607]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 160222132-6132-01]
RIN 0648-BF77


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 17A

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and

[[Page 22043]]

Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 17A to the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico 
(FMP), as prepared and submitted by the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery 
Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would extend the 
current Gulf commercial shrimp permit moratorium. The intent of this 
proposed rule and Amendment 17A is to protect federally managed Gulf 
shrimp stocks while promoting catch efficiency, economic efficiency, 
and stability in the fishery.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before May 16, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2016-0018'' by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0018, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Susan Gerhart, Southeast 
Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    Electronic copies of Amendment 17A, which includes an environmental 
assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory 
impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web 
site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/shrimp/2016/am17a/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Gerhart, telephone: 727-824-
5305, or email: Susan.Gerhart@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The shrimp fishery in the Gulf is managed 
under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and implemented 
through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act).

Management Measure Contained in This Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule would extend the Gulf shrimp permit moratorium 
until October 26, 2026. In 2002, through Amendment 11 to the FMP, the 
Council established a Federal commercial permit for all vessels 
harvesting shrimp from Federal waters of the Gulf (67 FR 51074, August 
7, 2002). That permit was a Federal open access permit for Gulf shrimp. 
Approximately 2,951 vessels had been issued these open access permits 
by 2006. After the establishment of the permit, the shrimp fishery 
experienced economic losses, primarily because of high fuel costs and 
reduced shrimp prices caused by competition from imports. These 
economic losses resulted in decreasing numbers of vessels in the 
fishery, and consequently, reduction of effort. The Council determined 
that the number of vessels would likely decline to a point where the 
fishery again would become profitable for the remaining participants, 
and new vessels might want to enter the fishery. That additional effort 
could negate, or at least lessen, profitability for the fleet as a 
whole. Consequently, through Amendment 13 to the FMP, the Council 
established a 10-year moratorium on the issuance of new Federal 
commercial shrimp vessel permits (71 FR 56039, September 26, 2006). The 
moratorium on permits indirectly controls shrimping effort in federal 
waters and thereby bycatch levels. Allowing the moratorium to expire 
would remove this control. The moratorium on permits also indirectly 
controls shrimping effort in Federal waters and thereby, bycatch levels 
of juvenile red snapper and sea turtles. The final rule implementing 
the moratorium was effective October 26, 2006, and the moratorium 
permits became effective in March 2007. Extending the moratorium for an 
additional 10 years until October 26, 2026, is expected to maintain the 
biological, social, and economic benefits to the shrimp fishery 
achieved under the moratorium permit over the past 10 years.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with Amendment 17A, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after 
public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of 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 (SBA) that this rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The factual basis for this determination is as follows.
    The current moratorium on Gulf shrimp permits became effective on 
October 26, 2006 (71 FR 56039, September 26, 2006). This proposed rule, 
if implemented, would extend the current moratorium on Federal Gulf 
shrimp permits until October 26, 2026. The purpose of this proposed 
rule is to maintain the biological, social, and economic benefits to 
the Gulf shrimp fishery achieved under the current moratorium. The 
objectives of this proposed rule are to protect federally managed Gulf 
shrimp stocks, and promote catch efficiency, economic efficiency, and 
stability in the Gulf shrimp fishery. The Magnuson-Stevens Act serves 
as the legal basis for the rule.
    This action is expected to directly regulate businesses that 
possess Federal Gulf shrimp moratorium permits. As of September 21, 
2015, there were 1,464 vessels with valid or renewable Gulf shrimp 
moratorium permits. Although some permits are thought to be held by 
businesses with the same or substantively the same individual owners, 
and thus would likely be considered affiliated, ownership data for Gulf 
shrimp permit holders is incomplete and thus it is not currently 
feasible to accurately determine whether businesses that have these 
permits are in fact affiliated. NMFS is currently making changes to its 
permit application forms so that such determinations can be accurately 
made for future regulatory actions in this fishery. As a result of the 
incomplete ownership data, for purposes of this analysis, it is assumed 
each vessel is independently owned by a single business, which will 
result in an overestimate of the actual number of businesses directly 
regulated by this proposed rule. Thus, the number of businesses 
directly regulated by this proposed rule is estimated to be 1,464.
    Based on landings and economic data from 2013, which is the most 
current year for which complete economic data

[[Page 22044]]

is available, all of these businesses are thought to be primarily 
engaged in shellfish harvesting activities (e.g., Gulf shrimp, South 
Atlantic shrimp, and Atlantic sea scallops fisheries). In 2013, the 
primary source of gross revenue for approximately 84 percent of these 
businesses was landings from one or more of these shellfish fisheries, 
while the other 16 percent did not have commercial landings in any 
fishery. It is common for a certain percentage of businesses with Gulf 
shrimp permits to be commercially inactive in a given year, because of 
economic conditions in the Gulf shrimp fishery, other fisheries, or 
other industries (e.g., oil and gas) in which these businesses, their 
owners, and their crew sometimes participate. Some businesses may have 
also been inactive due to issues associated with the Deepwater Horizon 
MC252 event in 2010 and subsequent payouts from British Petroleum (BP). 
NMFS only possesses data on such payouts and other transfer payments 
for a sample of the permitted businesses, and thus cannot confirm the 
extent to which such payouts contributed to the lack of commercial 
harvesting activity by all of the inactive businesses. Given the lack 
of data to the contrary and because these businesses possess Gulf 
shrimp moratorium permits, for the purpose of this analysis, these 
1,464 businesses are assumed to be primarily engaged in commercial 
shellfish harvesting.
    From 2011 through 2013, the greatest average annual gross revenue 
earned by a single business was approximately $2.48 million. On 
average, a business with a Gulf shrimp moratorium permit had an annual 
gross revenue of approximately $247,000, annual net revenue from 
operations (commercial fishing activities) of approximately $6,300, and 
an annual economic profit of approximately $37,000. All monetary 
estimates are in 2001 dollars. Average annual economic profit was 
greater between 2011 and 2013 compared to the 2006-2009 time period, 
and greater than net revenue from operations, partly because of non-
fishing related income, mostly in the form of payouts from BP (i.e., 
transfer payments) due to the Deepwater Horizon MC252 event in 2010. 
Thus, although the average profit margin from 2011 through 2013 was 
nearly 15 percent of gross revenue, the average margin from operations 
was only about 2.6 percent. Though relatively small, this margin from 
operations is still greater than what these businesses earned between 
2006 and 2009 when net revenue from operations was generally negative, 
on average.
    SBA has established size standards for all major industries, 
including commercial shellfish harvesting businesses (NAICS code 
114112). A business primarily involved in shellfish harvesting is 
classified as a small business if it is independently owned and 
operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its 
affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $5.5 
million. Based on the information above, all businesses directly 
regulated by this proposed rule are determined to be small businesses 
for the purpose of this analysis. Therefore, it is determined that this 
proposed rule will affect a substantial number of small businesses.
    The number of businesses with Gulf shrimp moratorium permits that 
had shrimp landings from offshore waters in the Gulf, and, in turn, the 
level of fishing effort in offshore waters, significantly decreased 
from 2002 through 2009. As used in this section and Amendment 17A, 
offshore waters are waters that are seaward of the demarcation lines 
established under the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations 
for Preventing Collisions at Sea, which define boundaries across inland 
waters, such as harbor mouths and inlets, for navigation purposes. 
Also, businesses had negative net revenue from their operations and 
generally earned economic losses on average from 2006 through 2009. 
However, the number of active vessels and, in turn, effort in the 
offshore Gulf shrimp fishery generally stabilized after 2010.
    Although transfer payments from BP as a result of the Deepwater 
Horizon MC252 event helped to increase economic profits from 2011 
through 2013, the increases in net revenue from operations during that 
time are thought to have been caused primarily by lower fuel prices, 
higher demand for and thus higher prices for shrimp, and higher catch 
rates. These higher catch rates are directly attributable to the 
reductions in effort. To maintain those higher catch rates, effort must 
at least remain stable. Because net revenue from operations and 
economic profit have been positive in recent years, if the permit 
moratorium was not extended and the fishery became subject to open 
access Gulf shrimp permits, it is possible that the number of active 
vessels and effort in the offshore fishery would increase, which would 
be expected to reduce catch rates and, in turn, net revenue from 
operations and economic profits. Thus, the proposed extension of the 
moratorium on Gulf shrimp permits for an additional 10 years is 
expected to result in greater net revenue from operations and economic 
profit than if the shrimp moratorium permit program was allowed to 
expire.
    Based on the information above, a reduction in profits for a 
substantial number of small entities is not expected as a result of 
this rule. Thus, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required and none has been prepared.
    No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been 
identified.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Commercial fisheries, Fishing, Gulf, Permits, Shrimp.

    Dated: April 11, 2016.
Eileen Sobeck,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.

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

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

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

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

0
2. In Sec.  622.50, revise the introductory text of paragraph (b) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  622.50  Permits, permit moratorium, and endorsements.

* * * * *
    (b) Moratorium on commercial vessel permits for Gulf shrimp. The 
provisions of this paragraph (b) are applicable through October 26, 
2026.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2016-08607 Filed 4-13-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P