Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits, 39025 [2016-14160]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 115 / Wednesday, June 15, 2016 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE682 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: The NMFS Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, has made a preliminary determination that an exempted fishing permit application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. This exempted fishing permit would allow commercial fishing vessels in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to research the use of raisedfootrope trawl gear to target whiting (Northern silver hake) within two existing areas of the Gulf of Maine whiting exempted fishery before the start of these areas current open seasons. Regulations under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for a proposed exempted fishing permit. DATES: Comments must be received on or before June 30, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following methods: • Email: NMFS.GAR.EFP@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line ‘‘Comments on 2016 MADMF Whiting Exempted Fishery Study EFP.’’ • Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘2016 MADMF Whiting Exempted Fishery Study EFP.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Reid Lichwell, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 282–9112. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MADMF) submitted a complete application for an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to assess the use of small-mesh raised-footrope trawl gear to target whiting within two Gulf of Maine (GOM) whiting exempted fishing areas 2 weeks before each area ehiers on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:15 Jun 14, 2016 Jkt 238001 currently opens for whiting fishing. Research would occur in subareas of Small Mesh Area I (SMA1) and the Western Raised Footrope Exemption Area (Western RFEA). This EFP would allow participating commercial fishing vessels exemption from the minimum mesh size gear requirements found at 50 CFR 648.80(a)(3); and from the possession limits and minimum size requirements specified in 50 CFR part 648, subparts B and D through O. MADMF asserts that the GOM whiting exempted fishery is underutilized and analysis of observer data have indicated that whiting stocks may be more prevalent and more effectively targeted within the exemption areas before the current July 15 opening for SMA1 and before the September 1 opening for the Western RFEA. This study would provide data on catch rates of whiting and bycatch rates of regulated Northeast (NE) multispecies to evaluate an earlier opening of the GOM whiting exempted fishery. Funds from the Massachusetts Groundfish Disaster Economic Assistance Program will be used to support this project. This EFP would allow five vessels to conduct research fishing within the western portion of SMA1 during July 1– 14, and four vessels within the western half of the Western RFEA area during August 18–31, as defined within the scientific research plan. Participating vessels would be limited to 6 fishing days each, to be fished within their assigned areas, totaling 54 fishing days for the entire project. The length of each trip would be at the discretion of the vessel operators, consistent with normal commercial fishing practices. Each vessel would conduct approximately 3 to 4 tows per-day, with a tow speed of 2.5-knots and each tow lasting approximately 90 minutes. Participating vessels will use a raisedfootrope trawl with 2.5 or 3-inch diamond mesh nets consistent with the whiting exemption requirements found at 50 CFR 648.80(a)(9)(ii). These vessels would operate under the restrictions associated with the whiting exemption areas during their open seasons. For instance, vessels would be allowed to retain whiting and offshore hake with a possession limit of up to 7,500 lb (3,402 kg) per trip, and red hake with a possession limit of up to 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) per trip. Additional species permitted for retention and sale would include butterfish, spiny dogfish, Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, scup, and squid. Regulated multispecies (cod, haddock, etc.) cannot be retained by the participating vessels. Participating vessels would be exempt from the possession limits and PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39025 minimum size requirements while collecting weight and length measurements of catch. All catch, including bycatch, not retained for sale would be returned to the sea as soon as possible after biological sampling is conducted. MADMF has analyzed catch data collected from 2010 through 2015 on vessels using small-mesh trawls within the same geographic area during adjacent timeframes to determine the predicted average catch and bycatch rates of each species per tow. This analysis suggests tows conducted under this research would result in low bycatch of regulated NE multispecies. The proposed EFP would provide relatively low fishing effort occurring over a short timeframe. In addition, due to the relatively small amount of whiting that will be harvested under this EFP, it is not anticipated that this project will reduce any small mesh subACL to the extent that it would negatively impact other small mesh vessels that are not involved in this project. All trips will be accompanied by either MADMF trained staff or contracted observers to collect data on catch composition, length and weight measurements, and operational data (location, weather, time, duration of tow, trawl speed, etc.) as described within the scientific research plan. All gear will be inspected and measured prior to its use to verify that it meets the mesh sizes requirements and raisedfootrope specifications proposed for use in this project and consistent with existing applicable small-mesh exempted gear requirements. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: June 10, 2016. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–14160 Filed 6–14–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Technical Information Service [Docket No.: 160608001–5001–01] Opportunity To Enter Into a Joint Venture With the National Technical Information Service for Data Innovation Support National Technical Information Service, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) requests SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\15JNN1.SGM 15JNN1

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[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 115 (Wednesday, June 15, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Page 39025]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-14160]



[[Page 39025]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE682


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic 
Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits

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

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The NMFS Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable 
Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, has made a preliminary 
determination that an exempted fishing permit application contains all 
of the required information and warrants further consideration. This 
exempted fishing permit would allow commercial fishing vessels in 
collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Marine 
Fisheries to research the use of raised-footrope trawl gear to target 
whiting (Northern silver hake) within two existing areas of the Gulf of 
Maine whiting exempted fishery before the start of these areas current 
open seasons.
    Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act require publication of this notification to provide 
interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for a 
proposed exempted fishing permit.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before June 30, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following 
methods:
     Email: NMFS.GAR.EFP@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line 
``Comments on 2016 MADMF Whiting Exempted Fishery Study EFP.''
     Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, 
Greater Atlantic Regional Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, 
MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ``2016 MADMF Whiting 
Exempted Fishery Study EFP.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Reid Lichwell, Fishery Management 
Specialist, (978) 282-9112.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division 
of Marine Fisheries (MADMF) submitted a complete application for an 
Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to assess the use of small-mesh raised-
footrope trawl gear to target whiting within two Gulf of Maine (GOM) 
whiting exempted fishing areas 2 weeks before each area currently opens 
for whiting fishing. Research would occur in subareas of Small Mesh 
Area I (SMA1) and the Western Raised Footrope Exemption Area (Western 
RFEA). This EFP would allow participating commercial fishing vessels 
exemption from the minimum mesh size gear requirements found at 50 CFR 
648.80(a)(3); and from the possession limits and minimum size 
requirements specified in 50 CFR part 648, subparts B and D through O.
    MADMF asserts that the GOM whiting exempted fishery is 
underutilized and analysis of observer data have indicated that whiting 
stocks may be more prevalent and more effectively targeted within the 
exemption areas before the current July 15 opening for SMA1 and before 
the September 1 opening for the Western RFEA. This study would provide 
data on catch rates of whiting and bycatch rates of regulated Northeast 
(NE) multispecies to evaluate an earlier opening of the GOM whiting 
exempted fishery. Funds from the Massachusetts Groundfish Disaster 
Economic Assistance Program will be used to support this project.
    This EFP would allow five vessels to conduct research fishing 
within the western portion of SMA1 during July 1-14, and four vessels 
within the western half of the Western RFEA area during August 18-31, 
as defined within the scientific research plan. Participating vessels 
would be limited to 6 fishing days each, to be fished within their 
assigned areas, totaling 54 fishing days for the entire project. The 
length of each trip would be at the discretion of the vessel operators, 
consistent with normal commercial fishing practices. Each vessel would 
conduct approximately 3 to 4 tows per-day, with a tow speed of 2.5-
knots and each tow lasting approximately 90 minutes.
    Participating vessels will use a raised-footrope trawl with 2.5 or 
3-inch diamond mesh nets consistent with the whiting exemption 
requirements found at 50 CFR 648.80(a)(9)(ii). These vessels would 
operate under the restrictions associated with the whiting exemption 
areas during their open seasons. For instance, vessels would be allowed 
to retain whiting and offshore hake with a possession limit of up to 
7,500 lb (3,402 kg) per trip, and red hake with a possession limit of 
up to 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) per trip. Additional species permitted for 
retention and sale would include butterfish, spiny dogfish, Atlantic 
herring, Atlantic mackerel, scup, and squid. Regulated multispecies 
(cod, haddock, etc.) cannot be retained by the participating vessels. 
Participating vessels would be exempt from the possession limits and 
minimum size requirements while collecting weight and length 
measurements of catch. All catch, including bycatch, not retained for 
sale would be returned to the sea as soon as possible after biological 
sampling is conducted.
    MADMF has analyzed catch data collected from 2010 through 2015 on 
vessels using small-mesh trawls within the same geographic area during 
adjacent timeframes to determine the predicted average catch and 
bycatch rates of each species per tow. This analysis suggests tows 
conducted under this research would result in low bycatch of regulated 
NE multispecies. The proposed EFP would provide relatively low fishing 
effort occurring over a short timeframe. In addition, due to the 
relatively small amount of whiting that will be harvested under this 
EFP, it is not anticipated that this project will reduce any small mesh 
sub-ACL to the extent that it would negatively impact other small mesh 
vessels that are not involved in this project.
    All trips will be accompanied by either MADMF trained staff or 
contracted observers to collect data on catch composition, length and 
weight measurements, and operational data (location, weather, time, 
duration of tow, trawl speed, etc.) as described within the scientific 
research plan. All gear will be inspected and measured prior to its use 
to verify that it meets the mesh sizes requirements and raised-footrope 
specifications proposed for use in this project and consistent with 
existing applicable small-mesh exempted gear requirements.

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

    Dated: June 10, 2016.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-14160 Filed 6-14-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P