Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 23438-23441 [2016-09283]

Download as PDF 23438 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 77 / Thursday, April 21, 2016 / Rules and Regulations tribal governments, nor will it affect private sector costs. Executive Order 13132 establishes certain requirements that an agency must meet when it promulgates a final rule that imposes substantial direct requirement costs on state and local governments, preempts state law, or otherwise has Federalism implications. Since this rule does not impose any costs on state or local governments, the requirements of Executive Order 13132 are not applicable. In accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 12866, this IFC was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. VI. Response to Comments Because of the large number of public comments we normally receive on Federal Register documents, we are not able to acknowledge or respond to them individually. We will consider all comments we receive by the date and time specified in the DATES section of this preamble, and, when we proceed with a subsequent document, we will respond to the comments in the preamble to that document. List of Subjects in 42 CFR Part 412 Administrative practice and procedure, Health facilities, Medicare, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services amends 42 CFR chapter IV as follows: PART 412—PROSPECTIVE PAYMENT SYSTEMS FOR INPATIENT HOSPITAL SERVICES 1. The authority for part 412 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: Secs. 1102 and 1871 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1302 and 1395hh), sec. 124 of Pub. L. 106–113 (113 Stat. 1501A–332), sec. 1206 of Pub. L. 113– 67, and sec. 112 of Pub. L. 113–93. 2. Section 412.230 is amended by— a. Revising paragraph (a)(5)(ii). b. Removing paragraph (a)(5)(iii). c. Redesignating paragraph (a)(5)(iv) as paragraph (a)(5)(iii). The revision reads as follows: jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES ■ ■ ■ ■ § 412.230 Criteria for an individual hospital seeking redesignation to another rural area or an urban area. (a) * * * (5) * * * (ii) A hospital may not be redesignated to more than one area, except for an urban hospital that has been granted redesignation as rural under § 412.103 and receives an VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:24 Apr 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 additional reclassification by the MGCRB. * * * * * ■ 3. Section 412.522 is amended by— ■ a. Redesignating paragraphs (b)(1) introductory text, (b)(1)(i) and (ii), and (b)(2) and (3) as paragraphs (b)(1)(i) introductory text, (b)(1)(i)(A) and (B), and (b)(1)(ii) and (iii), respectively. ■ b. Adding a paragraph heading for paragraph (b)(1). ■ c. Revising the paragraph heading for newly redesignated paragraph (b)(1)(i) introductory text. ■ d. In newly redesignated paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B), by removing the reference ‘‘paragraph (b)(2)’’ and adding the reference ‘‘paragraph (b)(1)(ii)’’ in its place and by removing the reference ‘‘paragraph (b)(3)’’ and adding the reference ‘‘paragraph (b)(1)(iii)’’ in its place. ■ d. In newly redesignated paragraph (b)(1)(ii), by removing the reference ‘‘paragraph (b)(1)’’ and adding the reference ‘‘paragraph (b)(1)(i)’’ in its place. ■ e. In newly redesignated paragraph (b)(1)(iii), by removing the reference ‘‘paragraph (b)(1)’’ and adding the reference ‘‘paragraph (b)(1)(i)’’ in its place. ■ f. Adding paragraph (b)(2). The revision and additions read as follows: § 412.522 Application of site neutral payment rate. (b) * * * (1) General criteria—(i) Basis and scope. * * * * * * * * (2) Special criteria—(i) Definitions. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(2) the following definitions are applicable: Severe wound means a wound which is a stage 3 wound, stage 4 wound, unstageable wound, non-healing surgical wound, infected wound, fistula, osteomyelitis or wound with morbid obesity as identified by the applicable code on the claim from the long-term care hospital. Wound means an injury, usually involving division of tissue or rupture of the integument or mucous membrane with exposure to the external environment. (ii) Discharges for severe wounds. A discharge that occurs on or after April 21, 2016 and before January 1, 2017 for a patient that was treated for a severe wound that meets the all of following criteria is excluded from the site neutral payment rate specified under this section: (A) The severe wound meets the definition specified in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section. PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (B) The discharge is from a long term care hospital that is— (1) Described in § 412.23(e)(2)(i) and meets the criteria of § 412.22(f); and (2) Located in a rural area (as defined at § 412.503) or reclassified as rural by meeting the requirements set forth in § 412.103. * * * * * Dated: April 7, 2016. Andrew M. Slavitt, Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Dated: April 14, 2016. Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services. [FR Doc. 2016–09219 Filed 4–18–16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4120–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150121066–5717–02] RIN 0648–XE566 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason Angling category retention limit adjustment. AGENCY: NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2016, based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS is adjusting the Angling category BFT daily retention limit to two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling category permits); and three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS Charter/ Headboat permits when fishing recreationally). These retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\21APR1.SGM 21APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 77 / Thursday, April 21, 2016 / Rules and Regulations Effective April 23, 2016 through December 31, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978–281–9260. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended by Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014), and in accordance with implementing regulations. NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCATrecommended quota. As a method for limiting fishing mortality on juvenile BFT, ICCAT recommends a tolerance limit on the annual harvest of BFT measuring less than 115 cm (straight fork length) to no more than 10 percent by weight of a Contracting Party’s total BFT quota over the 2015 and 2016 fishing periods. The United States implements this provision by limiting the harvest of school BFT (measuring 27 to less than 47 inches) as appropriate to not exceed the 10-percent limit over the two-year period. The currently codified baseline U.S. quota is 1,058.9 mt (not including the 25 mt ICCAT allocated to the United States to account for bycatch of BFT in pelagic longline fisheries in the Northeast Distant Gear Restricted Area). Among other things, Amendment 7 revised the allocations to all quota categories, effective January 1, 2015. See § 635.27(a). The currently codified Angling category quota is 195.2 mt (108.4 mt for school BFT, 82.3 mt for large school/small medium BFT, and 4.5 mt for large medium/giant BFT). The 2016 BFT fishing year, which is managed on a calendar-year basis and subject to an annual calendar-year quota, began January 1, 2016. The Angling category season opened January 1, 2016, and continues through jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:24 Apr 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 December 31, 2016. The size classes of BFT are summarized in Table 1. Please note that large school and small medium BFT traditionally have been managed as one size class, as described below, i.e., a limit of one large school/ small medium BFT (measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). TABLE 1—BFT SIZE CLASSES Size class Curved fork length School ............... Large school ..... Small medium ... Large medium .. Giant ................. 27 to less than 47 inches (68.5 to less than 119 cm). 47 to less than 59 inches (119 to less than 150 cm). 59 to less than 73 inches (150 to less than 185 cm). 73 to less than 81 inches (185 to less than 206 cm). 81 inches or greater (206 cm or greater). Currently, the default Angling category daily retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT applies (§ 635.23(b)(2)). This retention limit applies to HMS Angling and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when fishing recreationally for BFT). In 2014 and 2015, NMFS adjusted the daily retention limit from the default level of one school, large school, or small medium BFT to one school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT for private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling category permits); and two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT for charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when fishing recreationally), effective May 8, 2014, and May 15, 2015, respectively, through December 31 each year (79 FR 25707, May 6, 2014, and 80 FR27863, May 15, 2015). Adjustment of Angling Category Daily Retention Limit In adjusting the daily retention limit in this action, NMFS considered the factors required by regulatory criteria, as discussed in more detail, below. Under § 635.23(b)(3), NMFS may increase or decrease the Angling category retention limit for any size class of BFT. Any adjustments to retention limits must be based on consideration of the relevant criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8), which include: The usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock; the catches of the particular category quota PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 23439 to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made; the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year; the estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded; effects of the adjustment on BFT rebuilding and overfishing; effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan; variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of BFT; effects of catch rates in one area precluding vessels in another area from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the category’s quota; review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, and the availability of the BFT on the fishing grounds; optimizing fishing opportunity; accounting for dead discards, facilitating quota monitoring, supporting other fishing monitoring programs through quota allocations and/ or generation of revenue; and support of research through quota allocations and/ or generation of revenue. Recreational retention limits may be adjusted separately for specific vessel type, such as private vessels, headboats, or charter vessels. NMFS has considered these criteria and their applicability to the Angling category BFT retention limit for the remainder of 2016. These considerations include, but are not limited to, the following: Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock, biological samples collected from BFT landed by recreational fishermen continue to provide NMFS with valuable parts and data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land BFT would support the collection of a broad range of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes. Another principal consideration in setting the retention limit is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full Angling category quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and Amendment 7, including to achieve optimum yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations. This retention limit would be consistent with the quotas established and analyzed in the BFT quota final rule (80 FR 52198, August 28, 2015), and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, and is not expected to E:\FR\FM\21APR1.SGM 21APR1 23440 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 77 / Thursday, April 21, 2016 / Rules and Regulations that landings are as consistent as possible with the pattern of fishing mortality (e.g., fish caught at each age) that was assumed in the projections of stock rebuilding. negatively impact stock health or to affect the stock in ways not already analyzed in those documents. It is also important that NMFS limit landings to BFT subquotas both to adhere to the FMP quota allocations and to ensure Table 2 summarizes the recreational quota, subquotas, and landings information for 2014 and 2015 under the Angling category limits in effect for 2014 and 2015 (described above). TABLE 2—ANGLING CATEGORY QUOTA, SUBQUOTAS, AND LANDINGS FOR 2014 AND 2015 2014 Quota and subquotas (mt) jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Angling category ...................................... School ............................................... Large School/Small Medium ............. Large Medium/Giant (Trophy) .......... 182 94.9 82.9 4.2 The 2015 school BFT landings represent 2.4 percent of the total U.S. BFT quota for 2015, well under the ICCAT recommended 10-percent limit. Landings of school BFT in 2014, under the same adjusted limits, represented 2.6 percent of the total U.S. BFT quota for 2014. Given that the Angling category landings fell short of the available quota and based on the considerations of the regulatory criteria as described above, NMFS has determined that the Angling category retention limit applicable to participants on HMS Angling and HMS Charter/ Headboat category permitted vessels should be adjusted upwards from the default level. NMFS has also concluded that implementation of separate limits for private and charter/headboat vessels remains appropriate, recognizing the different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent landings results of the two components of the recreational BFT fishery. For example, charter operators historically have indicated that a multifish retention limit is vital to their ability to attract customers. In addition, Large Pelagics Survey estimates indicate that charter/headboat BFT landings averaged approximately 30 percent of recent recreational landings for 2014 through 2015, with the remaining 70 percent landed by private vessels. Therefore, for private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling category permits), this action adjusts the limit upwards to two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip (i.e., two BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). For charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS Charter/Headboat permits), this action adjusts the limit upwards to three school BFT and one large school/ small medium BFT per vessel per day/ VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:24 Apr 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 2015 Amount of quota and subquotas used (%) Landings (mt) 107.4 24.7 77.6 5.1 59 26 94 113 trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). These retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT. Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip (e.g., whether a vessel takes a two-day trip or makes two trips in one day), no more than a single day’s retention limit may be possessed, retained, or landed. NMFS anticipates that the BFT daily retention limits in this action will result in landings during 2016 that would not exceed the available subquotas. Lower retention limits could result in substantial underharvest of the codified Angling category subquota, and increasing the daily limits further may risk exceeding the available quota, contrary to the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, as amended. NMFS has concluded that increasing the school BFT retention limit for private and charter vessels relative to the adjusted limits for 2015 is possible without exceeding the annual school BFT subquota, given that the 2015 Angling category landings represented 58 percent of the codified Angling category quota and that school BFT landings represented 24 percent of the school BFT subquota. NMFS has also considered that 2016 is the second year of the two-year balancing period, over which the 10-percent tolerance limit on school BFT applies. NMFS is not setting higher school BFT limit for private and charter vessels due to the potential risk of exceeding the ICCAT tolerance limit on school BFT and other considerations, such as potential effort shifts to BFT fishing as a result of current, reduced recreational retention limits for New England groundfish and striped bass. PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Quota and subquotas (mt) 195.2 108.4 82.3 4.5 Landings (mt) Amount of quota and subquotas used (%) 113.1 26.2 80.2 6.7 58 24 97 149 NMFS will monitor 2016 landings closely and will make further adjustments, including closure if necessary, with an inseason action if warranted. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely through the mandatory landings and catch reports. General, HMS Charter/Headboat, Harpoon, and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov. HMS Angling and HMS Charter/ Headboat category permit holders may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at § 635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize survival, and without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at § 635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the ‘‘Careful Catch and Release’’ brochure available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/. Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit adjustments or closures are necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. Subsequent actions, if any, will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281–9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on E:\FR\FM\21APR1.SGM 21APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 77 / Thursday, April 21, 2016 / Rules and Regulations quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with RULES Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: Prior notice is impracticable because the regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, as amended, provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Based on available BFT quotas, fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, immediate adjustment to the Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the default levels is VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:24 Apr 20, 2016 Jkt 238001 warranted to allow fishermen to take advantage of the availability of fish and of quota. Fisheries under the Angling category daily retention limit are currently underway and thus prior notice would be contrary to the public interest. Delays in increasing daily recreational BFT retention limit would adversely affect those HMS Angling and Charter/ Headboat category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the default retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low catch rates and quota rollovers. Analysis of available data shows that adjustment to the BFT daily retention limit from the default level would result in minimal risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. NMFS provides notification of retention limit adjustments by publishing the notice in the Federal PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 23441 Register, emailing individuals who have subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on hmspermits.noaa.gov. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.23(b)(3), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: April 18, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–09283 Filed 4–20–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\21APR1.SGM 21APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 77 (Thursday, April 21, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 23438-23441]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-09283]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 150121066-5717-02]
RIN 0648-XE566


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason Angling category retention limit 
adjustment.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily 
retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly 
Migratory Species (HMS) Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat 
category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for 
the remainder of 2016, based on consideration of the regulatory 
determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. NMFS is 
adjusting the Angling category BFT daily retention limit to two school 
BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip for 
private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling category permits); and 
three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per 
day/trip for charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS Charter/Headboat 
permits when fishing recreationally). These retention limits are 
effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS 
prohibits targeted fishing for BFT.

[[Page 23439]]


DATES: Effective April 23, 2016 through December 31, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978-
281-9260.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory 
Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 
58058, October 2, 2006), as amended by Amendment 7 to the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014), and 
in accordance with implementing regulations. NMFS is required under 
ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with 
a reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota.
    As a method for limiting fishing mortality on juvenile BFT, ICCAT 
recommends a tolerance limit on the annual harvest of BFT measuring 
less than 115 cm (straight fork length) to no more than 10 percent by 
weight of a Contracting Party's total BFT quota over the 2015 and 2016 
fishing periods. The United States implements this provision by 
limiting the harvest of school BFT (measuring 27 to less than 47 
inches) as appropriate to not exceed the 10-percent limit over the two-
year period.
    The currently codified baseline U.S. quota is 1,058.9 mt (not 
including the 25 mt ICCAT allocated to the United States to account for 
bycatch of BFT in pelagic longline fisheries in the Northeast Distant 
Gear Restricted Area). Among other things, Amendment 7 revised the 
allocations to all quota categories, effective January 1, 2015. See 
Sec.  635.27(a). The currently codified Angling category quota is 195.2 
mt (108.4 mt for school BFT, 82.3 mt for large school/small medium BFT, 
and 4.5 mt for large medium/giant BFT).
    The 2016 BFT fishing year, which is managed on a calendar-year 
basis and subject to an annual calendar-year quota, began January 1, 
2016. The Angling category season opened January 1, 2016, and continues 
through December 31, 2016. The size classes of BFT are summarized in 
Table 1. Please note that large school and small medium BFT 
traditionally have been managed as one size class, as described below, 
i.e., a limit of one large school/small medium BFT (measuring 47 to 
less than 73 inches).

                        Table 1--BFT Size Classes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Size class                       Curved fork length
------------------------------------------------------------------------
School................................  27 to less than 47 inches (68.5
                                         to less than 119 cm).
Large school..........................  47 to less than 59 inches (119
                                         to less than 150 cm).
Small medium..........................  59 to less than 73 inches (150
                                         to less than 185 cm).
Large medium..........................  73 to less than 81 inches (185
                                         to less than 206 cm).
Giant.................................  81 inches or greater (206 cm or
                                         greater).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Currently, the default Angling category daily retention limit of 
one school, large school, or small medium BFT applies (Sec.  
635.23(b)(2)). This retention limit applies to HMS Angling and to HMS 
Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when fishing 
recreationally for BFT). In 2014 and 2015, NMFS adjusted the daily 
retention limit from the default level of one school, large school, or 
small medium BFT to one school BFT and one large school/small medium 
BFT for private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling category 
permits); and two school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT for 
charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS Charter/Headboat permits when 
fishing recreationally), effective May 8, 2014, and May 15, 2015, 
respectively, through December 31 each year (79 FR 25707, May 6, 2014, 
and 80 FR27863, May 15, 2015).

Adjustment of Angling Category Daily Retention Limit

    In adjusting the daily retention limit in this action, NMFS 
considered the factors required by regulatory criteria, as discussed in 
more detail, below.
    Under Sec.  635.23(b)(3), NMFS may increase or decrease the Angling 
category retention limit for any size class of BFT. Any adjustments to 
retention limits must be based on consideration of the relevant 
criteria provided under Sec.  635.27(a)(8), which include: The 
usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular 
category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the 
stock; the catches of the particular category quota to date and the 
likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment 
is made; the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the 
particular category quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT 
before the end of the fishing year; the estimated amounts by which 
quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded; 
effects of the adjustment on BFT rebuilding and overfishing; effects of 
the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery 
management plan; variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or 
migration patterns of BFT; effects of catch rates in one area 
precluding vessels in another area from having a reasonable opportunity 
to harvest a portion of the category's quota; review of dealer reports, 
daily landing trends, and the availability of the BFT on the fishing 
grounds; optimizing fishing opportunity; accounting for dead discards, 
facilitating quota monitoring, supporting other fishing monitoring 
programs through quota allocations and/or generation of revenue; and 
support of research through quota allocations and/or generation of 
revenue. Recreational retention limits may be adjusted separately for 
specific vessel type, such as private vessels, headboats, or charter 
vessels.
    NMFS has considered these criteria and their applicability to the 
Angling category BFT retention limit for the remainder of 2016. These 
considerations include, but are not limited to, the following: 
Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the 
particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the 
status of the stock, biological samples collected from BFT landed by 
recreational fishermen continue to provide NMFS with valuable parts and 
data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, 
and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land BFT would 
support the collection of a broad range of data for these studies and 
for stock monitoring purposes.
    Another principal consideration in setting the retention limit is 
the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full Angling 
category quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP and Amendment 7, including to achieve optimum 
yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit 
categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations. This retention 
limit would be consistent with the quotas established and analyzed in 
the BFT quota final rule (80 FR 52198, August 28, 2015), and with 
objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, and is not 
expected to

[[Page 23440]]

negatively impact stock health or to affect the stock in ways not 
already analyzed in those documents. It is also important that NMFS 
limit landings to BFT subquotas both to adhere to the FMP quota 
allocations and to ensure that landings are as consistent as possible 
with the pattern of fishing mortality (e.g., fish caught at each age) 
that was assumed in the projections of stock rebuilding.
    Table 2 summarizes the recreational quota, subquotas, and landings 
information for 2014 and 2015 under the Angling category limits in 
effect for 2014 and 2015 (described above).

                                       Table 2--Angling Category Quota, Subquotas, and Landings for 2014 and 2015
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               2014                                            2015
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             Amount of                                       Amount of
                                                             Quota and                       quota and       Quota and                       quota and
                                                          subquotas (mt)   Landings (mt)  subquotas used  subquotas (mt)   Landings (mt)  subquotas used
                                                                                                (%)                                             (%)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Angling category........................................             182           107.4              59           195.2           113.1              58
    School..............................................            94.9            24.7              26           108.4            26.2              24
    Large School/Small Medium...........................            82.9            77.6              94            82.3            80.2              97
    Large Medium/Giant (Trophy).........................             4.2             5.1             113             4.5             6.7             149
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The 2015 school BFT landings represent 2.4 percent of the total 
U.S. BFT quota for 2015, well under the ICCAT recommended 10-percent 
limit. Landings of school BFT in 2014, under the same adjusted limits, 
represented 2.6 percent of the total U.S. BFT quota for 2014. Given 
that the Angling category landings fell short of the available quota 
and based on the considerations of the regulatory criteria as described 
above, NMFS has determined that the Angling category retention limit 
applicable to participants on HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat 
category permitted vessels should be adjusted upwards from the default 
level. NMFS has also concluded that implementation of separate limits 
for private and charter/headboat vessels remains appropriate, 
recognizing the different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent 
landings results of the two components of the recreational BFT fishery. 
For example, charter operators historically have indicated that a 
multi-fish retention limit is vital to their ability to attract 
customers. In addition, Large Pelagics Survey estimates indicate that 
charter/headboat BFT landings averaged approximately 30 percent of 
recent recreational landings for 2014 through 2015, with the remaining 
70 percent landed by private vessels.
    Therefore, for private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling 
category permits), this action adjusts the limit upwards to two school 
BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip 
(i.e., two BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT 
measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). For charter vessels (i.e., those 
with HMS Charter/Headboat permits), this action adjusts the limit 
upwards to three school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per 
vessel per day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., three 
BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to 
less than 73 inches). These retention limits are effective in all 
areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted 
fishing for BFT. Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip (e.g., 
whether a vessel takes a two-day trip or makes two trips in one day), 
no more than a single day's retention limit may be possessed, retained, 
or landed.
    NMFS anticipates that the BFT daily retention limits in this action 
will result in landings during 2016 that would not exceed the available 
subquotas. Lower retention limits could result in substantial 
underharvest of the codified Angling category subquota, and increasing 
the daily limits further may risk exceeding the available quota, 
contrary to the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, as 
amended. NMFS has concluded that increasing the school BFT retention 
limit for private and charter vessels relative to the adjusted limits 
for 2015 is possible without exceeding the annual school BFT subquota, 
given that the 2015 Angling category landings represented 58 percent of 
the codified Angling category quota and that school BFT landings 
represented 24 percent of the school BFT subquota. NMFS has also 
considered that 2016 is the second year of the two-year balancing 
period, over which the 10-percent tolerance limit on school BFT 
applies. NMFS is not setting higher school BFT limit for private and 
charter vessels due to the potential risk of exceeding the ICCAT 
tolerance limit on school BFT and other considerations, such as 
potential effort shifts to BFT fishing as a result of current, reduced 
recreational retention limits for New England groundfish and striped 
bass. NMFS will monitor 2016 landings closely and will make further 
adjustments, including closure if necessary, with an inseason action if 
warranted.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely through the 
mandatory landings and catch reports. General, HMS Charter/Headboat, 
Harpoon, and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the 
catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the 
landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov.
    HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permit holders may 
catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the 
requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at 
Sec.  635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released 
must be handled in a manner that will maximize survival, and without 
removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at Sec.  
635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the 
``Careful Catch and Release'' brochure available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.
    Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, 
NMFS may determine that additional retention limit adjustments or 
closures are necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to 
enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, 
all geographic areas. Subsequent actions, if any, will be published in 
the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic 
Tunas Information Line at (978) 281-9260, or access 
hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on

[[Page 23441]]

quota monitoring and inseason adjustments.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    Prior notice is impracticable because the regulations implementing 
the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, as amended, provide for inseason 
retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of 
BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this 
species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Based on 
available BFT quotas, fishery performance in recent years, and the 
availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, immediate adjustment to the 
Angling category BFT daily retention limit from the default levels is 
warranted to allow fishermen to take advantage of the availability of 
fish and of quota.
    Fisheries under the Angling category daily retention limit are 
currently underway and thus prior notice would be contrary to the 
public interest. Delays in increasing daily recreational BFT retention 
limit would adversely affect those HMS Angling and Charter/Headboat 
category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest 
more than the default retention limit of one school, large school, or 
small medium BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low 
catch rates and quota rollovers. Analysis of available data shows that 
adjustment to the BFT daily retention limit from the default level 
would result in minimal risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. 
NMFS provides notification of retention limit adjustments by publishing 
the notice in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who have 
subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating 
the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on 
hmspermits.noaa.gov. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 
553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. 
For all of the above reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) 
to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec.  635.23(b)(3), and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: April 18, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-09283 Filed 4-20-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P