International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, 24501-24504 [2016-09679]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 80 / Tuesday, April 26, 2016 / Rules and Regulations 1852.223–73 List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 1815, 1842, and 1852 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 6. Amend section 1852.223–73, in ALTERNATE I, by removing ‘‘1823.7001(c)(1)’’ and adding ‘‘1823.7001(c)’’ in its place. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1852.223–75 [Docket No. 150924885–6324–02] ■ Government procurement. Manuel Quinones, NASA FAR Supplement Manager. Accordingly, 48 CFR parts 1815, 1842, and 1852 are amended as follows: 1. The authority citation for parts 1815, 1842, and 1852 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 51 U.S.C. 20113(a) and 48 CFR chapter 1. [Amended] 7. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.223–75 by removing ‘‘1823.7001(d)’’ and adding ‘‘1823.7001(e)(1)’’ and in the introductory text of ALTERNATE I removing ‘‘1823.7001(d)(2)’’ and adding ‘‘1823.7001(e)(2)’’in their place. ■ PART 1815—CONTRACTING BY NEGOTIATION 1852.227–88 1815.408–70 ■ [Amended] 2. Amend section 1815.408–70, in paragraph (c) by removing ‘‘1815.215– 85’’ and adding ‘‘1852.215–85’’ in its place. ■ PART 1842—CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION AND AUDIT SERVICES 3. Add sections 1842–7002 and 1842– 7003 to subpart 1842.70 to read as follows: 1842.7002 States. Travel outside of the United The contracting officer shall insert the clause at 1852.242–71, Travel Outside of the United States, in costreimbursement solicitations and contracts where a contractor may travel outside of the United States and it is appropriate to require Government approval of the travel. 1842.7003 Emergency medical services and evacuation. The contracting officer must insert the clause at 1852.242–78, Emergency Medical Services and Evacuation, in all solicitations and contracts when employees of the contractor are required to travel outside the United States or to remote locations in the United States. PART 1852—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 1852.215–79 [Amended] 4. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.215–79 by removing ‘‘1815.407–70(b)’’ and adding ‘‘1815.408–70(b)’’ in its place. ■ 1852.217–72 [Amended] 5. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.217–72 by removing ‘‘1817.7302(b)’’ and adding ‘‘1817.7002(b)’’ in its place. ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:40 Apr 25, 2016 Jkt 238001 [Amended] 8. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.227–88 by removing ‘‘1827.409(m)’’ and adding ‘‘1827.409(m)(1)’’ in its place. 1852.228–71 [Amended] 1852.239–70 [Amended] 10. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.239–70 by removing ‘‘1839.106–70(a)(1)’’ and adding ‘‘1839.107–70(a)(1)’’ and in the introductory text of ALTERNATE I removing ‘‘1839.7008(b)’’ and adding ‘‘1839.107–70(a)(2)’’in their place. ■ 1852.245–73 [Amended] 11. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.245–73 by removing ‘‘1845.106–70(d)’’ and adding ‘‘1845.107–70(d)’’ in its place. ■ 1852.245–82 [Amended] 12. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.245–82 by removing ‘‘1845.106–70(m)’’ and adding ‘‘1845.107–70(m)’’ in its place. [Amended] 13. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.245–83 by removing ‘‘1845.106–70(n)’’ and adding ‘‘1845.107–70(n)’’ in its place. ■ 1852.246–73 [Amended] 14. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.246–73 by removing ‘‘1845.370(b)’’ and adding ‘‘1846.370’’ in its place. [FR Doc. 2016–09588 Filed 4–25–16; 8:45 am] Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the InterAmerican Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS is issuing regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act to implement Recommendation C–12–11 of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) by revising the management regime for the area of overlapping jurisdiction between the IATTC and the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC). These regulations provide that the management measures of the IATTC no longer apply in the area of overlapping jurisdiction, with the exception of regulations governing the IATTC Regional Vessel Register. This rule is necessary for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC. DATES: This rule is effective May 26, 2016. Copies of the Regulatory Impact Review and other supporting documents prepared for this final rule are available via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA– NMFS–2015–0158 or by contacting the Regional Administrator, William W. Stelle, Jr., NMFS West Coast Region, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Bldg 1, Seattle, WA 98115–0070, or RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@ noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS, West Coast Region, 562–980–4036. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background On December 28, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (80 FR 80741) to BILLING CODE 7510–13–P PO 00000 RIN 0648–BF38 ADDRESSES: ■ 1852.245–83 50 CFR Part 300 SUMMARY: 9. Amend the introductory text of section 1852.228–71 by removing ‘‘1828.311–2’’ and adding ‘‘1828.311– 270(a)’’ in its place. ■ ■ asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES [Amended] 24501 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\26APR1.SGM 26APR1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES 24502 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 80 / Tuesday, April 26, 2016 / Rules and Regulations implement IATTC Recommendation C– 12–11 (IATTC—WCPFC Overlap Area); the IATTC adopted this Recommendation at its 84th meeting in October 2012. The convention areas for the IATTC and WCPFC overlap in the Pacific Ocean waters within a rectangular area bounded by 50° S. latitude, 150° W. longitude, 130° W. longitude, and 4° S. latitude (‘‘Area of Overlap’’). Recommendation C–12–11 calls for each flag State member, if it is a member of both organizations, to decide, for a period of not less than 3 years, whether IATTC or WCPFC conservation and management measures will apply to vessels listed in the registers of both organizations while fishing in the Area of Overlap. The proposed rule contained additional background information, including information on the IATTC, the international obligations of the United States as an IATTC member, and the need for regulations. The 30-day public comment period for the proposed rule closed on January 27, 2016. Prior to this rule, both the U.S. regulations that implement the decisions of the IATTC (see 50 CFR part 300, subpart C) and the regulations that implement the decisions of the WCPFC (see 50 CFR part 300, subpart O) applied in the Area of Overlap. This rule implements Recommendation C–12–11 and establishes that, in the Area of Overlap, the regulations that implement the decisions of the IATTC at 50 CFR part 300, subpart C, do not apply; however, regulations pertaining to the IATTC Regional Vessel Register at 50 CFR 300.22(b) still apply. The decisions of the WCPFC as implemented by NMFS regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subpart O would continue to apply in the Area of Overlap. Under this rule, the definition of the IATTC Convention Area is revised into two parts: (1) Include the Area of Overlap in the definition of the IATTC Convention Area for the purpose of IATTC Regional Vessel Register regulations at 50 CFR 300.22(b), and (2) exclude the Area of Overlap in the definition of the Convention Area for the purpose of regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subpart C. The final rule is implemented under the authority of the Tuna Conventions Act (16 U.S.C. 951 et seq.), as amended on November 5, 2015, by title II of Public Law 114–81. The recent amendments provide that the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State and, with respect to enforcement measures, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, may promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out U.S. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:40 Apr 25, 2016 Jkt 238001 international obligations under the Convention, including recommendations and decisions adopted by the IATTC. The Secretary’s authority to promulgate such regulations has been delegated to NMFS. NMFS notes that on January 29, 2016, after publication of the proposed rule, the United States deposited a formal notice of intent to withdraw from the Treaty on Fisheries between the Governments of Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States of America (aka the South Pacific Tuna Treaty or SPTT). The SPTT entered into force in 1988, and provides for the establishment of terms and conditions for the U.S. tuna purse seine fleet to fish in certain areas of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), including waters under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Island Parties to the SPTT. A small part of the SPTT Convention Area is in the Overlap Zone; fishing vessels of the United States operating in the SPTT Convention Area are subject to 50 CFR part 300, subpart D. The SPTT will terminate 1 year from the receipt of the deposit of the formal notice of withdrawal unless the United States rescinds the notice. Due in part to uncertainty regarding fishing access pursuant to the SPTT in 2016, 15 large purse seine vessels (>362.8 metric ton well volume) that typically fish in the WCPO requested to be added to the IATTC Regional Vessel Register for fishing access in the EPO. Consequently, the combined well volume capacity of all U.S. purse seine vessels is 29,390 m3, which is close to the 31,775 m3 limit for the United States. Public Comments and Responses NMFS received one comment letter during the 30-day public comment period that closed on January 27, 2016. At the time the comment letter was received, no SPTT licenses had been issued to U.S. vessels for 2016. On February 29, 2016, the Pacific Island Parties to the SPTT and the United States finalized revised terms of access to waters under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Island parties for 2016. The comment letter included references to the situation with the SPTT, as described above, and the distribution of fishing effort of U.S. purse seine vessels between the WCPO and EPO. The concerns expressed in the comment letter were separated into three comments, which NMFS responds to below. Comment 1: Recently, the fishing effort of much of the American Samoan fleet has shifted from the WCPFC to the IATTC Convention Area; therefore, the PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 commenter opposes this proposed rule to apply WCPFC regulations to the Area of Overlap instead of IATTC regulations. Due to the lack of SPTT licenses, the U.S. purse seine fleet has been prohibited from fishing in the SPTT Licensing Area and 15 U.S. flagged purse seiners are utilizing their historical rights to fish in the IATTC Convention Area. Because these vessels would now be following IATTC regulations, the statement made to support the proposed rule is no longer accurate: ‘‘. . . the U.S. fisheries impacted by this rulemaking occur mostly in the WCPFC Area.’’ Response: As described in the preamble, NMFS recognizes that this has been an unusual year for the U.S purse seine fleet fishing under the SPTT and that there has been uncertainty in the structure and future of the SPTT. At the time the proposed rule published, no SPTT licenses had been issued to U.S. vessels for 2016, and large purse seine vessels that typically fish in the WCPO requested to be added to the IATTC Regional Vessel Register for fishing access in the EPO. However, on February 29, 2016, the Pacific Island parties and the United States finalized revised terms of access for 2016. While the future of the SPTT remains uncertain, U.S. purse seine vessels have been issued SPTT licenses for 2016 as of the date of publication of this final rule. Due to the uncertainty in the future of the SPTT and the terms of fishing access to waters under the jurisdiction of Pacific Island parties for U.S. purse seine vessels in the future, NMFS intends to apply these regulations for 3 years, and may re-evaluate the location of fishing effort between the EPO and WCPO after that time to consider any substantial changes in the fisheries. In the event that the SPTT does terminate, owners of U.S. purse seine vessels may be able to obtain authorization from Pacific Island nations to fish in waters under their jurisdiction through alternative arrangements. Although Comment 1 references that the fishing effort of 15 purse seine vessels recently changed from the WCPO to the EPO, NMFS evaluated the impacts of the rule by reviewing all U.S. fishing activity in the Area of Overlap, including other gear types outside of the purse seine fleet. As described in the Classification section of the proposed rule, U.S. vessels do not fish in the Area of Overlap often. The two gear types that have fished in the Area of Overlap since 2008 are troll vessels that target South Pacific albacore and purse seine vessels that target tropical tuna. The majority of the South Pacific albacore E:\FR\FM\26APR1.SGM 26APR1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 80 / Tuesday, April 26, 2016 / Rules and Regulations troll fishery occurs in the WCPFC Convention Area outside the Area of Overlap (i.e., west of 150° W.), while some fishing has occurred in the Area of Overlap. As described above, the well volume capacity on the IATTC Regional Vessel Register for 2016 is nearly at the U.S. limit with 15 large purse seine vessels. There are currently 27 large purse seine vessels that are authorized by NMFS to be used for fishing on the high seas in the WCPFC Convention Area that are not on the IATTC Regional Vessel Register and these vessels will not be able to fish full time in the EPO for 2016. In addition, although U.S. longline vessels have not fished in the Area of Overlap over the past 10 years, this fleet also primarily fishes in the WCPO. This rule applies to vessels of all gear types. Comment 2: IATTC decisions governing the IATTC Regional Vessel Registry and Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP) should not apply in the Area of Overlap, including vessel assessment fees, observer coverage, and authorization for the active status of purse seine vessels. NMFS is proposing that vessels fishing in the Overlap Area pay IATTC fees, follow some IATTC rules, but also abide by all WCPFC rules. Response: The decisions of the AIDCP must continue to apply regardless of the way IATTC Recommendation C–12–11 is implemented through this rulemaking. As explained in the preamble of the proposed rule, the IATTC Regional Vessel Register regulations must continue to apply to U.S. vessels in the Area of Overlap so that the United States can continue to fulfill its obligations under the AIDCP in that area. The decisions of the IATTC cannot undo the decisions of the AIDCP without consensus from the AIDCP because these organizations are established under separate treaties. The IATTC Regional Vessel Register is used as a mechanism to implement AIDCP provisions, including vessel assessment fees, observer coverage, and authorization for the active status of purse seine vessels. Therefore, the IATTC Regional Vessel Register requirements, including the requirement to pay vessel assessment fees required under the AIDCP will continue to apply in the Area of Overlap. Comment 3: This proposed rule runs counter to its stated intent to simplify regulations in a way consistent with one Commission or the other, nor is it reflective of current status of the fishery. It applies a historical rather than forward looking rationale and, therefore, fails to account for changes clearly VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:40 Apr 25, 2016 Jkt 238001 occurring and likely to occur in future fishing patterns. U.S. vessels fishing in the EPO should follow IATTC regulations exclusively in the Area of Overlap and not those of the WCPFC. Response: NMFS disagrees that this rule would not simplify the regulations to be followed in the Area of Overlap. As described in the Classification section of the proposed rule, the rule is expected to simplify regulations because, aside from the IATTC Regional Vessel Register requirements, affected vessels will only be required to follow the measures of one organization (i.e., the WCPFC) rather than both organizations (i.e., the WCPFC and the IATTC) in the Area of Overlap. For example, in 2015 purse seine vessel owners and operators needed to comply with closures applicable in the Area of Overlap for both the IATTC and WCPFC. The IATTC implementing regulations at § 300.25(f) require vessel owners and operators to select one of two options for 62-day closures in the IATTC Convention Area. In addition, purse seine vessel owners and operators needed to comply with WCPFC regulations at § 300.223(a) that established a limit of 1,828 purse seine fishing days in the WCPFC Convention Area in the areas of high seas and U.S. EEZ between 20° N. latitude and 20° S. latitude (an area known as the ELAPS), which includes some of the Area of Overlap. The limit was reached and the applicable area was closed to purse seine fishing from June 15, 2015, through December 31, 2015 (80 FR 32313). Under this rule, vessel owners and operators would not need to comply with both sets of purse seine closures in the Area of Overlap, and would only need to comply with the WCPFC limit on fishing days in the ELAPS. Comment 3 also states that the rule ‘‘. . . applies a historical rather than forward looking rationale and therefore fails to account for changes clearly occurring and likely to occur in future fishing patterns. . . .’’ As described in the response to Comment 1, NMFS cannot speculate on the outcome of the SPTT negotiations or future fishing grounds of the purse seine fleet, and can only evaluate the information that is currently available. Furthermore, NMFS cannot predict other changes that may occur in future fishing patterns outside of the SPTT. For example, changes in regional fisheries management organization measures in the future could lead to more or less restrictive measures for fleets that would require more or less burden in the Area of Overlap. Given that the majority of the U.S. fleet that has utilized the Area of Overlap in the past eight years has PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 24503 fished predominantly in the WCPO, NMFS still considers the decisions of the WCPFC to be the more uniform set of regulations for the U.S. fleet to follow when in the Area of Overlap. Moreover, NMFS may re-evaluate the location of fishing effort between the EPO and WCPO three years from now to consider revising this rule in light of any substantial changes in the fisheries. Changes From the Proposed Rule There are no changes in the regulatory text between the proposed and final rule. Classification The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this rule is consistent with the Tuna Conventions Act and other applicable laws. This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. Additionally, although there are no new collection-of-information requirements associated with this action that are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, existing collection-ofinformation requirements still apply under the following Control Numbers: (1) 0648–0596, Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Requirements under the WCPFC; (2) 0648–0595, WCPFC Vessel Information Family of Forms; (3) 0648– 0649, Transshipment Requirements under the WPCFC; and (4) 0648–0204, West Coast Region Family of Forms. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection-of-information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection-of-information displays a currently valid OMB control number. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding the certification. Therefore, the certification published with the proposed rule that states this rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities is still valid. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300 Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, International organizations, E:\FR\FM\26APR1.SGM 26APR1 24504 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 80 / Tuesday, April 26, 2016 / Rules and Regulations Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties. Dated: April 21, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Carly Bari, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9224. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 151110999–6315–02] For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300 is amended as follows: PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS RIN 0648–BF53 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Specifications and Management Measures National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: 1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart C, continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq. 2. In § 300.21, revise the definition for ‘‘Convention Area’’ to read as follows: ■ § 300.21 Definitions. * * * * * Convention Area or IATTC Convention Area means: (1) For the purpose of § 300.22(b), all waters of the Pacific Ocean within the area bounded by the west coast of the Americas and by 50° N. latitude from the coast of North America to its intersection with 150° W. longitude, then 150° W. longitude to its intersection with 50° S. latitude, and then 50° S. latitude to its intersection with the coast of South America; and (2) For the purpose of all other sections and paragraphs of this subpart, all waters of the Pacific Ocean within the area bounded by the west coast of the Americas and by 50° N. latitude from the coast of North America to its intersection with 150° W. longitude, then 150° W. longitude to its intersection with 4° S. latitude, then 4° S. to its intersection with 130° W. longitude, then 130° W. longitude to its intersection with 50° S. latitude, and then 50° S. latitude to its intersection with the coast of South America. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2016–09679 Filed 4–25–16; 8:45 am] asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:40 Apr 25, 2016 Jkt 238001 NMFS is implementing 2016– 2018 specifications for Atlantic mackerel and the river herring and shad catch cap for Atlantic mackerel. This action also adjusts the butterfish mesh requirement, clarifies the use of net strengtheners in the butterfish fishery, and suspends indefinitely the pre-trip notification system requirement in the longfin squid fishery. These specifications set catch levels to prevent overfishing and allocate catch to commercial and recreational fisheries. Additionally, the adjustments to gear and reporting requirements in the squid and butterfish fisheries will make operation of the fisheries more efficient and less burdensome. These specifications and management measures are consistent with the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan and the recommendations of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. DATES: Effective May 26, 2016, except for the amendment to § 648.11(n)(1), which is effective April 26, 2016. ADDRESSES: Copies of the specifications document, including the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), are available from: Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901, telephone (302) 674–2331. The framework document is also accessible via the Internet at: http://www.greater atlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office by email to OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395–7285. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Background Specifications, as referred to in this rule, are the combined suite of commercial and recreational catch levels established for one or more fishing years. The specifications process also allows for the modification of a select number of management measures, such as closure thresholds, gear restrictions, and possession limits. The Council’s process for establishing specifications relies on provisions within the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and its implementing regulations, as well as requirements established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Specifically, section 302(g)(1)(B) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act states that the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) for each Regional Fishery Management Council shall provide its Council ongoing scientific advice for fishery management decisions, including recommendations for acceptable biological catch (ABC), preventing overfishing, maximum sustainable yield, and achieving rebuilding targets. The ABC is a level of catch that accounts for the scientific uncertainty in the estimate of the stock’s defined overfishing level (OFL). The Council’s SSC met on May 13 and 14, 2015, to recommend an ABC for the 2016–2018 Atlantic mackerel specifications. On January 22, 2016, NMFS published a proposed rule for the 2016–2018 Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish fishery specifications and management measures (81 FR 3768); the public comment period for the proposed rule ended February 22, 2016. NMFS previously set specifications for butterfish, longfin squid, and Illex squid for 3 years in 2015 (2015–2017) (80 FR 14870, March 20, 2015) and, therefore, new specifications for these species are not included in this final rule. The Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP regulations require the specification of annual catch limits (ACL) and accountability measures (AM) for Atlantic mackerel and butterfish. (Both squid species are exempt from the ACL/AM requirements because they have life cycles of less than 1 year.) In addition, the regulations require the specification of domestic annual harvest (DAH), domestic annual processing (DAP), and total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF), along with joint venture processing (JVP) for E:\FR\FM\26APR1.SGM 26APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 80 (Tuesday, April 26, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 24501-24504]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-09679]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 150924885-6324-02]
RIN 0648-BF38


International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing 
Restrictions for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of 
the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central 
Pacific Fisheries Commission

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is issuing regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act to 
implement Recommendation C-12-11 of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna 
Commission (IATTC) by revising the management regime for the area of 
overlapping jurisdiction between the IATTC and the Commission for the 
Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the 
Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC). These regulations provide 
that the management measures of the IATTC no longer apply in the area 
of overlapping jurisdiction, with the exception of regulations 
governing the IATTC Regional Vessel Register. This rule is necessary 
for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the 
IATTC.

DATES: This rule is effective May 26, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Regulatory Impact Review and other supporting 
documents prepared for this final rule are available via the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA-NMFS-2015-
0158 or by contacting the Regional Administrator, William W. Stelle, 
Jr., NMFS West Coast Region, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Bldg 1, Seattle, 
WA 98115-0070, or RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS, West Coast 
Region, 562-980-4036.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On December 28, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule in the Federal 
Register (80 FR 80741) to

[[Page 24502]]

implement IATTC Recommendation C-12-11 (IATTC--WCPFC Overlap Area); the 
IATTC adopted this Recommendation at its 84th meeting in October 2012. 
The convention areas for the IATTC and WCPFC overlap in the Pacific 
Ocean waters within a rectangular area bounded by 50[deg] S. latitude, 
150[deg] W. longitude, 130[deg] W. longitude, and 4[deg] S. latitude 
(``Area of Overlap''). Recommendation C-12-11 calls for each flag State 
member, if it is a member of both organizations, to decide, for a 
period of not less than 3 years, whether IATTC or WCPFC conservation 
and management measures will apply to vessels listed in the registers 
of both organizations while fishing in the Area of Overlap. The 
proposed rule contained additional background information, including 
information on the IATTC, the international obligations of the United 
States as an IATTC member, and the need for regulations. The 30-day 
public comment period for the proposed rule closed on January 27, 2016.
    Prior to this rule, both the U.S. regulations that implement the 
decisions of the IATTC (see 50 CFR part 300, subpart C) and the 
regulations that implement the decisions of the WCPFC (see 50 CFR part 
300, subpart O) applied in the Area of Overlap. This rule implements 
Recommendation C-12-11 and establishes that, in the Area of Overlap, 
the regulations that implement the decisions of the IATTC at 50 CFR 
part 300, subpart C, do not apply; however, regulations pertaining to 
the IATTC Regional Vessel Register at 50 CFR 300.22(b) still apply.
    The decisions of the WCPFC as implemented by NMFS regulations at 50 
CFR part 300, subpart O would continue to apply in the Area of Overlap. 
Under this rule, the definition of the IATTC Convention Area is revised 
into two parts: (1) Include the Area of Overlap in the definition of 
the IATTC Convention Area for the purpose of IATTC Regional Vessel 
Register regulations at 50 CFR 300.22(b), and (2) exclude the Area of 
Overlap in the definition of the Convention Area for the purpose of 
regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subpart C.
    The final rule is implemented under the authority of the Tuna 
Conventions Act (16 U.S.C. 951 et seq.), as amended on November 5, 
2015, by title II of Public Law 114-81. The recent amendments provide 
that the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of 
State and, with respect to enforcement measures, the Secretary of the 
Department of Homeland Security, may promulgate such regulations as may 
be necessary to carry out U.S. international obligations under the 
Convention, including recommendations and decisions adopted by the 
IATTC. The Secretary's authority to promulgate such regulations has 
been delegated to NMFS.
    NMFS notes that on January 29, 2016, after publication of the 
proposed rule, the United States deposited a formal notice of intent to 
withdraw from the Treaty on Fisheries between the Governments of 
Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States 
of America (aka the South Pacific Tuna Treaty or SPTT). The SPTT 
entered into force in 1988, and provides for the establishment of terms 
and conditions for the U.S. tuna purse seine fleet to fish in certain 
areas of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), including waters 
under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Island Parties to the SPTT. A 
small part of the SPTT Convention Area is in the Overlap Zone; fishing 
vessels of the United States operating in the SPTT Convention Area are 
subject to 50 CFR part 300, subpart D. The SPTT will terminate 1 year 
from the receipt of the deposit of the formal notice of withdrawal 
unless the United States rescinds the notice. Due in part to 
uncertainty regarding fishing access pursuant to the SPTT in 2016, 15 
large purse seine vessels (>362.8 metric ton well volume) that 
typically fish in the WCPO requested to be added to the IATTC Regional 
Vessel Register for fishing access in the EPO. Consequently, the 
combined well volume capacity of all U.S. purse seine vessels is 29,390 
m\3\, which is close to the 31,775 m\3\ limit for the United States.

Public Comments and Responses

    NMFS received one comment letter during the 30-day public comment 
period that closed on January 27, 2016. At the time the comment letter 
was received, no SPTT licenses had been issued to U.S. vessels for 
2016. On February 29, 2016, the Pacific Island Parties to the SPTT and 
the United States finalized revised terms of access to waters under the 
jurisdiction of the Pacific Island parties for 2016. The comment letter 
included references to the situation with the SPTT, as described above, 
and the distribution of fishing effort of U.S. purse seine vessels 
between the WCPO and EPO. The concerns expressed in the comment letter 
were separated into three comments, which NMFS responds to below.
    Comment 1: Recently, the fishing effort of much of the American 
Samoan fleet has shifted from the WCPFC to the IATTC Convention Area; 
therefore, the commenter opposes this proposed rule to apply WCPFC 
regulations to the Area of Overlap instead of IATTC regulations. Due to 
the lack of SPTT licenses, the U.S. purse seine fleet has been 
prohibited from fishing in the SPTT Licensing Area and 15 U.S. flagged 
purse seiners are utilizing their historical rights to fish in the 
IATTC Convention Area. Because these vessels would now be following 
IATTC regulations, the statement made to support the proposed rule is 
no longer accurate: ``. . . the U.S. fisheries impacted by this 
rulemaking occur mostly in the WCPFC Area.''
    Response: As described in the preamble, NMFS recognizes that this 
has been an unusual year for the U.S purse seine fleet fishing under 
the SPTT and that there has been uncertainty in the structure and 
future of the SPTT. At the time the proposed rule published, no SPTT 
licenses had been issued to U.S. vessels for 2016, and large purse 
seine vessels that typically fish in the WCPO requested to be added to 
the IATTC Regional Vessel Register for fishing access in the EPO. 
However, on February 29, 2016, the Pacific Island parties and the 
United States finalized revised terms of access for 2016. While the 
future of the SPTT remains uncertain, U.S. purse seine vessels have 
been issued SPTT licenses for 2016 as of the date of publication of 
this final rule.
    Due to the uncertainty in the future of the SPTT and the terms of 
fishing access to waters under the jurisdiction of Pacific Island 
parties for U.S. purse seine vessels in the future, NMFS intends to 
apply these regulations for 3 years, and may re-evaluate the location 
of fishing effort between the EPO and WCPO after that time to consider 
any substantial changes in the fisheries. In the event that the SPTT 
does terminate, owners of U.S. purse seine vessels may be able to 
obtain authorization from Pacific Island nations to fish in waters 
under their jurisdiction through alternative arrangements.
    Although Comment 1 references that the fishing effort of 15 purse 
seine vessels recently changed from the WCPO to the EPO, NMFS evaluated 
the impacts of the rule by reviewing all U.S. fishing activity in the 
Area of Overlap, including other gear types outside of the purse seine 
fleet. As described in the Classification section of the proposed rule, 
U.S. vessels do not fish in the Area of Overlap often. The two gear 
types that have fished in the Area of Overlap since 2008 are troll 
vessels that target South Pacific albacore and purse seine vessels that 
target tropical tuna. The majority of the South Pacific albacore

[[Page 24503]]

troll fishery occurs in the WCPFC Convention Area outside the Area of 
Overlap (i.e., west of 150[deg] W.), while some fishing has occurred in 
the Area of Overlap. As described above, the well volume capacity on 
the IATTC Regional Vessel Register for 2016 is nearly at the U.S. limit 
with 15 large purse seine vessels. There are currently 27 large purse 
seine vessels that are authorized by NMFS to be used for fishing on the 
high seas in the WCPFC Convention Area that are not on the IATTC 
Regional Vessel Register and these vessels will not be able to fish 
full time in the EPO for 2016. In addition, although U.S. longline 
vessels have not fished in the Area of Overlap over the past 10 years, 
this fleet also primarily fishes in the WCPO. This rule applies to 
vessels of all gear types.
    Comment 2: IATTC decisions governing the IATTC Regional Vessel 
Registry and Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation 
Program (AIDCP) should not apply in the Area of Overlap, including 
vessel assessment fees, observer coverage, and authorization for the 
active status of purse seine vessels. NMFS is proposing that vessels 
fishing in the Overlap Area pay IATTC fees, follow some IATTC rules, 
but also abide by all WCPFC rules.
    Response: The decisions of the AIDCP must continue to apply 
regardless of the way IATTC Recommendation C-12-11 is implemented 
through this rulemaking. As explained in the preamble of the proposed 
rule, the IATTC Regional Vessel Register regulations must continue to 
apply to U.S. vessels in the Area of Overlap so that the United States 
can continue to fulfill its obligations under the AIDCP in that area. 
The decisions of the IATTC cannot undo the decisions of the AIDCP 
without consensus from the AIDCP because these organizations are 
established under separate treaties. The IATTC Regional Vessel Register 
is used as a mechanism to implement AIDCP provisions, including vessel 
assessment fees, observer coverage, and authorization for the active 
status of purse seine vessels. Therefore, the IATTC Regional Vessel 
Register requirements, including the requirement to pay vessel 
assessment fees required under the AIDCP will continue to apply in the 
Area of Overlap.
    Comment 3: This proposed rule runs counter to its stated intent to 
simplify regulations in a way consistent with one Commission or the 
other, nor is it reflective of current status of the fishery. It 
applies a historical rather than forward looking rationale and, 
therefore, fails to account for changes clearly occurring and likely to 
occur in future fishing patterns. U.S. vessels fishing in the EPO 
should follow IATTC regulations exclusively in the Area of Overlap and 
not those of the WCPFC.
    Response: NMFS disagrees that this rule would not simplify the 
regulations to be followed in the Area of Overlap. As described in the 
Classification section of the proposed rule, the rule is expected to 
simplify regulations because, aside from the IATTC Regional Vessel 
Register requirements, affected vessels will only be required to follow 
the measures of one organization (i.e., the WCPFC) rather than both 
organizations (i.e., the WCPFC and the IATTC) in the Area of Overlap. 
For example, in 2015 purse seine vessel owners and operators needed to 
comply with closures applicable in the Area of Overlap for both the 
IATTC and WCPFC. The IATTC implementing regulations at Sec.  300.25(f) 
require vessel owners and operators to select one of two options for 
62-day closures in the IATTC Convention Area. In addition, purse seine 
vessel owners and operators needed to comply with WCPFC regulations at 
Sec.  300.223(a) that established a limit of 1,828 purse seine fishing 
days in the WCPFC Convention Area in the areas of high seas and U.S. 
EEZ between 20[deg] N. latitude and 20[deg] S. latitude (an area known 
as the ELAPS), which includes some of the Area of Overlap. The limit 
was reached and the applicable area was closed to purse seine fishing 
from June 15, 2015, through December 31, 2015 (80 FR 32313). Under this 
rule, vessel owners and operators would not need to comply with both 
sets of purse seine closures in the Area of Overlap, and would only 
need to comply with the WCPFC limit on fishing days in the ELAPS.
    Comment 3 also states that the rule ``. . . applies a historical 
rather than forward looking rationale and therefore fails to account 
for changes clearly occurring and likely to occur in future fishing 
patterns. . . .'' As described in the response to Comment 1, NMFS 
cannot speculate on the outcome of the SPTT negotiations or future 
fishing grounds of the purse seine fleet, and can only evaluate the 
information that is currently available. Furthermore, NMFS cannot 
predict other changes that may occur in future fishing patterns outside 
of the SPTT. For example, changes in regional fisheries management 
organization measures in the future could lead to more or less 
restrictive measures for fleets that would require more or less burden 
in the Area of Overlap. Given that the majority of the U.S. fleet that 
has utilized the Area of Overlap in the past eight years has fished 
predominantly in the WCPO, NMFS still considers the decisions of the 
WCPFC to be the more uniform set of regulations for the U.S. fleet to 
follow when in the Area of Overlap. Moreover, NMFS may re-evaluate the 
location of fishing effort between the EPO and WCPO three years from 
now to consider revising this rule in light of any substantial changes 
in the fisheries.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    There are no changes in the regulatory text between the proposed 
and final rule.

Classification

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this rule is 
consistent with the Tuna Conventions Act and other applicable laws.
    This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866.
    Additionally, although there are no new collection-of-information 
requirements associated with this action that are subject to the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, existing collection-of-information 
requirements still apply under the following Control Numbers: (1) 0648-
0596, Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Requirements under the WCPFC; (2) 
0648-0595, WCPFC Vessel Information Family of Forms; (3) 0648-0649, 
Transshipment Requirements under the WPCFC; and (4) 0648-0204, West 
Coast Region Family of Forms. Notwithstanding any other provision of 
the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be 
subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection-of-
information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that 
collection-of-information displays a currently valid OMB control 
number.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding the certification. Therefore, the certification published 
with the proposed rule that states this rule is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
is still valid. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not 
required and none was prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300

    Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, International 
organizations,

[[Page 24504]]

Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties.

    Dated: April 21, 2016.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300 is amended 
as follows:

PART 300--INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart C, continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 951 et seq.


0
2. In Sec.  300.21, revise the definition for ``Convention Area'' to 
read as follows:


Sec.  300.21  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Convention Area or IATTC Convention Area means:
    (1) For the purpose of Sec.  300.22(b), all waters of the Pacific 
Ocean within the area bounded by the west coast of the Americas and by 
50[deg] N. latitude from the coast of North America to its intersection 
with 150[deg] W. longitude, then 150[deg] W. longitude to its 
intersection with 50[deg] S. latitude, and then 50[deg] S. latitude to 
its intersection with the coast of South America; and
    (2) For the purpose of all other sections and paragraphs of this 
subpart, all waters of the Pacific Ocean within the area bounded by the 
west coast of the Americas and by 50[deg] N. latitude from the coast of 
North America to its intersection with 150[deg] W. longitude, then 
150[deg] W. longitude to its intersection with 4[deg] S. latitude, then 
4[deg] S. to its intersection with 130[deg] W. longitude, then 130[deg] 
W. longitude to its intersection with 50[deg] S. latitude, and then 
50[deg] S. latitude to its intersection with the coast of South 
America.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2016-09679 Filed 4-25-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P