Fisheries Off West Coast States; the Highly Migratory Species Fishery; Closure, 35653 [2016-13137]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 107 / Friday, June 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations § 73.622 [Amended] 2. Amend § 73.622(i), the PostTransition Table of DTV Allotments under Nebraska, by removing channel 7 at Scottsbluff and adding, in alphabetical order, Sidney, channel 7. ■ [FR Doc. 2016–12603 Filed 6–2–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 031125294–4091–02] RIN 0648–XE621 Fisheries Off West Coast States; the Highly Migratory Species Fishery; Closure National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is prohibiting fishing with large-mesh drift gillnet (DGN) gear (>14 inches mesh) off the coast of southern California east of 120° W. meridian from June 1, 2016, through August 31, 2016. This prohibition is based on the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries’ (AA’s) determination that El ˜ Nino conditions are occurring off the coast of southern California. This action protects Endangered Species Act-listed loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), specifically the endangered North Pacific Ocean Distinct Population Segment. SUMMARY: Effective 12:01 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), June 1, 2016, through 11:59 p.m. PDT, August 31, 2016. DATES: mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Shattenkirk, West Coast Region (WCR), NMFS, (562) 980–3248, keith.shattenkirk@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The DGN fishery is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (50 CFR part 660, subpart K) and occurs off the coast of California. NMFS regulations provide that no person may VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:04 Jun 02, 2016 Jkt 238001 fish with, set, or haul back drift gillnet gear in U.S. waters of the Pacific Ocean east of the 120° W. meridian from June 1 through August 31 during a ˜ forecasted, or occurring, El Nino event off the coast of southern California (50 CFR 660.713(c)(2)). This area, which falls within the Southern California Bight (SCB), is referred to in the regulations as the ‘‘Pacific loggerhead conservation area.’’ Under 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2)(ii), the AA is to rely on information developed by NOAA offices (the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the West Coast Office of the Coast Watch program) to make the determination that ˜ an El Nino event is forecasted or occurring off southern California. The AA is to use monthly sea surface temperature (SST) charts to determine whether there are warmer-than-normal SSTs off southern California ‘‘during the months prior to the closure months for ˜ years in which an El Nino event has been declared’’ by the CPC. Specifically, the AA is to use SST data from the third and second months prior to the month of closure. NMFS published these regulations to protect loggerhead sea turtles, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act. The regulations addressed a reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) included in NMFS’ 2000 biological opinion on issuance of an incidental take permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The biological opinion concluded that bycatch in the DGN fishery was likely to jeopardize the continued existence of loggerhead sea turtles and, as an RPA, recommended the fishery be closed during the summer ˜ months when El Nino conditions are present to avoid the likelihood of jeopardy. On March 5, 2015, the CPC issued an ˜ ˜ El Nino Advisory, declaring that El Nino conditions were present in equatorial waters. Since that initial advisory, all monthly CPC updates have stated that ˜ El Nino conditions remain in these waters. The May 12, 2016, update ˜ reaffirmed El Nino conditions are currently present. In May 2016, NMFS staff reviewed the SST anomalies in the SCB during March and April of 2016, relying on SST maps available through NOAA’s Coast Watch program (for details see http:// coastwatch.pfeg.noaa.gov/erddap/ PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 35653 index.html). These maps indicated that SSTs were above normal in the SCB. NMFS concluded that a determination ˜ of El Nino conditions off southern California is warranted based on SSTs that are warmer than normal during the third and second months prior to the month of the closure, consistent with regulations at 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2)(ii). If SSTs return to normal or below normal during a closure period, regulations at 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2)(iii) state that the AA may re-open the fishery after publishing a Federal ˜ Register notice announcing that El Nino conditions are no longer present in the SCB. Classification This action is required by regulations at 50 CFR 660.713 and is exempt from Office of Management and Budget review under Executive Order 12866. NMFS finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) for the time-area closure of the DGN fishery. Notice and comment procedures are impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The ˜ most recent El Nino determination occurred on May 12, 2016, and regulations require that the closure period begin on June 1; therefore, there is insufficient time for notice and comment procedures. For the same reasons, NMFS also finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the general requirement for a 30-day delay in effectiveness for this action. This measure is based upon the best available information and is necessary for the conservation of loggerhead sea turtles. The closure period anticipated by the regulation ends, at the latest, on August 31, 2016. A delay in effectiveness may allow the fishery to interact with and injure or kill loggerhead sea turtles that may occur within the SCB during the time period in which the regulation was intended to protect loggerheads. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: May 27, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–13137 Filed 5–31–16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\03JNR1.SGM 03JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 107 (Friday, June 3, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 35653]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-13137]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 031125294-4091-02]
RIN 0648-XE621


Fisheries Off West Coast States; the Highly Migratory Species 
Fishery; Closure

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting fishing with large-mesh drift gillnet 
(DGN) gear (>14 inches mesh) off the coast of southern California east 
of 120[deg] W. meridian from June 1, 2016, through August 31, 2016. 
This prohibition is based on the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries' 
(AA's) determination that El Ni[ntilde]o conditions are occurring off 
the coast of southern California. This action protects Endangered 
Species Act-listed loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), 
specifically the endangered North Pacific Ocean Distinct Population 
Segment.

DATES: Effective 12:01 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), June 1, 2016, 
through 11:59 p.m. PDT, August 31, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Shattenkirk, West Coast Region 
(WCR), NMFS, (562) 980-3248, keith.shattenkirk@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The DGN fishery is managed under the Fishery 
Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory 
Species (50 CFR part 660, subpart K) and occurs off the coast of 
California. NMFS regulations provide that no person may fish with, set, 
or haul back drift gillnet gear in U.S. waters of the Pacific Ocean 
east of the 120[deg] W. meridian from June 1 through August 31 during a 
forecasted, or occurring, El Ni[ntilde]o event off the coast of 
southern California (50 CFR 660.713(c)(2)). This area, which falls 
within the Southern California Bight (SCB), is referred to in the 
regulations as the ``Pacific loggerhead conservation area.''
    Under 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2)(ii), the AA is to rely on information 
developed by NOAA offices (the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the 
West Coast Office of the Coast Watch program) to make the determination 
that an El Ni[ntilde]o event is forecasted or occurring off southern 
California. The AA is to use monthly sea surface temperature (SST) 
charts to determine whether there are warmer-than-normal SSTs off 
southern California ``during the months prior to the closure months for 
years in which an El Ni[ntilde]o event has been declared'' by the CPC. 
Specifically, the AA is to use SST data from the third and second 
months prior to the month of closure.
    NMFS published these regulations to protect loggerhead sea turtles, 
which are listed under the Endangered Species Act. The regulations 
addressed a reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) included in NMFS' 
2000 biological opinion on issuance of an incidental take permit under 
the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The biological opinion concluded that 
bycatch in the DGN fishery was likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of loggerhead sea turtles and, as an RPA, recommended the 
fishery be closed during the summer months when El Ni[ntilde]o 
conditions are present to avoid the likelihood of jeopardy.
    On March 5, 2015, the CPC issued an El Ni[ntilde]o Advisory, 
declaring that El Ni[ntilde]o conditions were present in equatorial 
waters. Since that initial advisory, all monthly CPC updates have 
stated that El Ni[ntilde]o conditions remain in these waters. The May 
12, 2016, update reaffirmed El Ni[ntilde]o conditions are currently 
present.
    In May 2016, NMFS staff reviewed the SST anomalies in the SCB 
during March and April of 2016, relying on SST maps available through 
NOAA's Coast Watch program (for details see http://coastwatch.pfeg.noaa.gov/erddap/index.html). These maps indicated that 
SSTs were above normal in the SCB. NMFS concluded that a determination 
of El Ni[ntilde]o conditions off southern California is warranted based 
on SSTs that are warmer than normal during the third and second months 
prior to the month of the closure, consistent with regulations at 50 
CFR 660.713(c)(2)(ii).
    If SSTs return to normal or below normal during a closure period, 
regulations at 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2)(iii) state that the AA may re-open 
the fishery after publishing a Federal Register notice announcing that 
El Ni[ntilde]o conditions are no longer present in the SCB.

Classification

    This action is required by regulations at 50 CFR 660.713 and is 
exempt from Office of Management and Budget review under Executive 
Order 12866.
    NMFS finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set 
forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) for the time-area closure of the DGN 
fishery. Notice and comment procedures are impracticable and contrary 
to the public interest. The most recent El Ni[ntilde]o determination 
occurred on May 12, 2016, and regulations require that the closure 
period begin on June 1; therefore, there is insufficient time for 
notice and comment procedures. For the same reasons, NMFS also finds 
good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the general requirement 
for a 30-day delay in effectiveness for this action. This measure is 
based upon the best available information and is necessary for the 
conservation of loggerhead sea turtles. The closure period anticipated 
by the regulation ends, at the latest, on August 31, 2016. A delay in 
effectiveness may allow the fishery to interact with and injure or kill 
loggerhead sea turtles that may occur within the SCB during the time 
period in which the regulation was intended to protect loggerheads.

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

    Dated: May 27, 2016.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-13137 Filed 5-31-16; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P