Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2016 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits, 44249-44251 [2016-16013]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 130 / Thursday, July 7, 2016 / Proposed Rules in paragraph 1.E., ‘‘Compliance,’’ of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767–53A0265, Revision 1, dated March 18, 2016. (1) Do a detailed inspection and a surface high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection for cracking of the frame inner chord and web common to the floor beam joint in section 41 and 43 on the left and right sides. (2) Do a detailed inspection and a surface HFEC inspection for cracking of the section 43 and 46 frames common to the shear ties on the left and right sides. (h) Service Information Exception Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767– 53A0265, Revision 1, dated March 18, 2016, specifies a compliance time ‘‘after the original issue date of this service bulletin,’’ this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after the effective date of this AD. Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSALS (i) Credit for Previous Actions This paragraph provides credit for the actions specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 767–53A0265, dated March 18, 2015. This service information is not incorporated by reference in this AD. (j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs) (1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k)(1) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-Seattle-ACO-AMOCRequests@faa.gov. (2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/ certificate holding district office. (3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make those findings. To be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD. (4) For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (j)(4)(i) and (j)(4)(ii) of this AD apply. (i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures. (ii) Steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:03 Jul 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 accordance with the operator’s maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition. (k) Related Information (1) For more information about this AD, contact Wayne Lockett, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM–120S, FAA, Seattle ACO, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057–3356; phone: 425–917–6447; fax: 425– 917–6590; email: wayne.lockett@faa.gov. (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H–65, Seattle, WA 98124–2207; telephone 206– 544–5000, extension 1; fax 206–766–5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425–227–1221. Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 23, 2016. Dorr M. Anderson, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2016–15914 Filed 7–6–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 [Docket No. 151023986–6557–01] RIN 0648–XE284 Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2016 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed specifications; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes a 2016 limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) of longlinecaught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). NMFS would allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a specified fishing agreement that meets established criteria. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. The proposed catch limits SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 44249 and accountability measures would support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands. DATES: NMFS must receive comments by July 22, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2015–0140, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20150140, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). NMFS prepared environmental analyses that describe the potential impacts on the human environment that would result from the proposed catch limits and accountability measures. The environmental analyses are available at www.regulations.gov. The information contained in the environmental analyses is not repeated here. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIRO Sustainable Fisheries, 808–725–5176. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS proposes to specify a catch limit of 2,000 mt of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. participating territory in 2016. NMFS would also authorize each U.S. Pacific territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt of its 2,000-mt bigeye tuna limit to U.S. longline fishing vessels that are permitted to fish under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP). Those vessels must be identified in a specified fishing agreement with the applicable territory. The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended these specifications. E:\FR\FM\07JYP1.SGM 07JYP1 44250 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 130 / Thursday, July 7, 2016 / Proposed Rules NMFS will monitor catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna by the longline fisheries of each U.S Pacific territory, including catches made by U.S. longline vessels operating under specified fishing agreements. The criteria that a specified fishing agreement must meet, and the process for attributing longline-caught bigeye tuna, will follow the procedures in 50 CFR 665.819 (Territorial catch and fishing effort limits). When NMFS projects that a territorial catch or allocation limit will be reached, NMFS would, as an accountability measure, prohibit the catch and retention of longline-caught bigeye tuna by vessels in the applicable territory (if the territorial catch limit is projected to be reached), and/or vessels in a specified fishing agreement (if the allocation limit is projected to be reached). NMFS will consider public comments on the proposed action and will announce the final specifications in the Federal Register. NMFS must receive any comments by the date provided in the DATES heading. NMFS may not consider any comments not postmarked or otherwise transmitted by that date. Regardless of the final specifications, all other management measures will continue to apply in the longline fishery. Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSALS Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this proposed specification is consistent with the applicable FEPs, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment. Certification of Finding of No Significant Impact on Substantial Number of Small Entities The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that these proposed specifications, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for it are contained in the preamble to this proposed specification. The proposed action would specify a 2016 limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) (4,409,240 lb) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)). Without this catch limit, these U.S territories would not be VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:03 Jul 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 subject to a limit because they, as Participating Territories to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), do not have a bigeye tuna limit under international measures adopted by the WCPFC. NMFS would also allow each territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt (2,204,620 lb) of its 2,000 mt bigeye tuna limit each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a specified fishing agreement that meets established criteria set forth in 50 CFR 665.819. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna by vessels in the applicable U.S. territory (if the territorial catch limit is projected to be reached), or by vessels operating under the applicable specified fishing agreement (if the allocation limit is projected to be reached). Payments under the specified fishing agreements support fisheries development in the U.S. Pacific territories and the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands. This proposed action would directly apply to longline vessels federally permitted under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (Pelagic FEP), specifically Hawaii longline limited entry, American Samoa longline limited entry, and Western Pacific general longline permit holders. As of June 2016, 139 vessels possessed Hawaii longline limited entry permits (out of 164 total permits), 40 possessed American Samoa longline limited entry permits (out of 60 total permits), and one vessel held a Western Pacific general longline permit. According to landings information provided in the environmental assessment prepared in support of this action and logbook information, Hawaiibased longline vessels landed approximately 25,791,000 lb of pelagic fish valued at $93,963,000 in 2012 and 27,053,000 lb of pelagic fish valued at $88,552,000 in 2013. With 129 vessels making either a deep- or shallow-set trip in 2012, and 135 vessels in 2013, the exvessel value of pelagic fish caught by Hawaii-based longline fisheries averaged about $728,000 and $656,000 per vessel in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2014, 140 vessels made approximately 1,431 trips, with 19,115 sets, and 47,130,556 hooks. In 2015, 142 vessels made approximately 1,448 trips, with 18,469 sets, and 47,489,544 hooks. Final catch, landings, and revenue information for the Hawaii-based longline fleet in 2014 and 2015 are not yet available. In 2013, 22 American Samoa longline vessels turned in logbooks reporting the landing of 162,444 pelagic fish PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (approximately 6 million lb) valued at $6,772,386. Albacore made up the largest proportion of pelagic landings in American Samoa at 4,525,453 lb and bigeye tuna comprised of 187,954 lb. With 22 active longline vessels, the exvessel value of pelagic fish caught by the American Samoa longline fishery averaged about $307,836 per vessel in 2013. With regard to Guam and CNMI, no longline fishing has occurred since 2011. On December 29, 2015, NMFS issued a final rule establishing a small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts for all businesses primarily engaged in the commercial fishing industry (NAICS 11411) for Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) compliance purposes only (80 FR 81194, December 29, 2015). The $11 million standard became effective on July 1, 2016, and is to be used in place of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) current standards of $20.5 million, $5.5 million, and $7.5 million for the finfish (NAICS 114111), shellfish (NAICS 114112), and other marine fishing (NAICS 114119) sectors of the U.S. commercial fishing industry in all NMFS rules subject to the RFA after July 1, 2016. Id. at 81194. Based on this information, NMFS has determined that all vessels permitted federally under the Pelagic FEP are small entities, i.e., they are engaged in the business of fish harvesting (NAICS 114111), are independently owned or operated, are not dominant in their field of operation, and have annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million. Even though this proposed action would apply to a substantial number of vessels, the implementation of this action would not result in significant adverse economic impact to individual vessels. The proposed action would potentially benefit Hawaii-based longline fishery participants by allowing them to fish under specified fishing agreements with a territory, which could extend fishing effort for bigeye tuna in the Western Pacific Ocean and provide more bigeye tuna for markets in Hawaii. Amendment 7 to the Pelagic FEP established a process by which NMFS could specify catch and/or effort limits for pelagic fisheries in American Samoa, Guam and CNMI, regardless of whether the WCPFC adopts a limit for those entities or not. Amendment 7 also allows NMFS to authorize the government of each territory to allocate a portion of their catch and/or effort limits through territorial fishing agreements. Specifically, bigeye tuna landed by vessels included in a fishing agreement are attributed to the U.S territory to which the agreement E:\FR\FM\07JYP1.SGM 07JYP1 Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 130 / Thursday, July 7, 2016 / Proposed Rules applies, and not counted towards the U.S. bigeye tuna limit established by NMFS under a separate authority in 50 CFR part 300, subpart O. In accordance with Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subpart O, vessels that possess both an American Samoa and Hawaii longline permit are not subject to the U.S bigeye tuna limit. Therefore, these vessels may retain bigeye tuna and land fish in Hawaii after the date that NMFS projects the fishery would reach that limit. Further, catches of bigeye tuna made by such vessels are attributed to American Samoa, provided the fish was not caught in the U.S. EEZ around Hawaii. In 2015, all dual American Samoa/Hawaii longline permitted vessels were included in the fishing agreement with CNMI. Therefore, NMFS attributed bigeye catches by those vessels to the CNMI. The 2016 U.S. bigeye tuna catch limit established in 50 CFR 300, Subpart O is 3,554 mt, which is about 1.5% higher than the 2015 limit. In 2015, the U.S. longline fishery was subject to a catch limit of 3,502 mt (WCPFC limit of 3,554 mt less the 2014 catch overage of 52 mt). NMFS closed the fishery on August 5, 2015, because the fishery reached the limit (80 FR 46515, July 28, 2015). However, effective October 9, 2015, NMFS specified the 2015 catch and allocation limits for the CNMI and all vessels in the Hawaii longline fleet immediately entered into a specified fishing agreement with the CNMI. NMFS forecasted vessels listed in the CNMI specified fishing agreement would reach the 1,000-mt allocation limit on November 30, 2015 and issued a notice that it would restrict retention of bigeye tuna by vessels identified in that agreement on that date (80 FR 74002, November 27, 2015). Effective November 25, 2015, NMFS specified the 2015 catch and allocation limit for Guam and all Hawaii longline vessels immediately entered into a second specified fishing agreement with Guam on that date. Preliminary data from PIFSC indicate that Hawaii longline vessels caught the entire 1,000-mt bigeye tuna allocation provided by the CNMI specified fishing agreement, but did not reach the 1,000 mt allocation limit provided by the Guam specified fishing agreement before the 2015 fishing year ended on December 31, 2015 (NMFS PIFSC unpublished data; Preliminary 2015 U.S. Part 1 annual report to the WCPFC). Through this action, Hawaii-based longline vessels could again potentially enter into one or more fishing agreements with participating territories. This would enhance the VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:03 Jul 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 ability of these vessels to extend fishing effort in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and provide more bigeye tuna for markets in Hawaii. Providing opportunity to land bigeye tuna in Hawaii in the last quarter of the year when market demand is high will result in positive economic benefits for fishery participants and net benefits to the nation. Allowing participating territories to enter into specified fishing agreements under this action, provides benefits to the territories by providing funds for territorial fisheries development projects. In terms of the impacts of reducing the limits of bigeye tuna catch by longline vessels based in the territories from an unlimited amount to 2,000 mt, this is not likely to adversely affect vessels based in the territories. Historical catch of bigeye tuna by the American Samoa longline fleet has been less than 2,000 mt, even including the catch of vessels based in American Samoa, catch by dual permitted vessels that land their catch in Hawaii, and catch attributed to American Samoa from U.S. vessels under specified fishing agreements (which occurred in 2011 and 2012). With regard to Guam and CNMI, no longline fishing has occurred since 2011. Under the proposed action, longline fisheries managed under the Pelagic FEP are not expected to expand substantially nor change the manner in which they are currently conducted, (i.e., area fished, number of vessels longline fishing, number of trips taken per year, number of hooks set per vessel during a trip, depth of hooks, or deployment techniques in setting longline gear), due to existing operational constraints in the fleet, the limited entry permit programs, and protected species mitigation requirements. The proposed rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with other Federal rules and is not expected to have significant impact on small organizations or government jurisdictions. Furthermore, there would be little, if any, disproportionate adverse economic impacts from the proposed rule based on gear type, or relative vessel size. The proposed rule also will not place a substantial number of small entities, or any segment of small entities, at a significant competitive disadvantage to large entities. For the reasons above, NMFS does not expect the proposed action to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As such, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. This action is exempt from review under the procedures of E.O. 12866 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 44251 because this action contains no implementing regulations. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: June 30, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–16013 Filed 7–6–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No.: 160225146–6146–01] RIN 0648–BF80 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Observer Coverage Requirements for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area Trawl Catcher Vessels National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS is proposing regulations to modify observer coverage requirements for catcher vessels participating in the trawl limited access fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). If approved, this proposed rule would allow the owner of a trawl catcher vessel to request, on an annual basis, that NMFS place the vessel in the full observer coverage category for all directed fishing for groundfish using trawl gear in the BSAI in the following calendar year. This action is necessary to relieve vessel owners who request full observer coverage of the reporting requirements and observer fee liability associated with the partial observer coverage category. In addition, this proposed rule makes minor technical corrections to observer program regulations. This proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), and other applicable laws. DATES: Submit comments on or before August 8, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\07JYP1.SGM 07JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 130 (Thursday, July 7, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 44249-44251]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-16013]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 665

[Docket No. 151023986-6557-01]
RIN 0648-XE284


Pacific Island Pelagic Fisheries; 2016 U.S. Territorial Longline 
Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits

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

ACTION: Proposed specifications; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes a 2016 limit of 2,000 metric tons (mt) of 
longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. Pacific territory (American 
Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). NMFS would allow each 
territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt each year to U.S. longline fishing 
vessels in a specified fishing agreement that meets established 
criteria. As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, 
and restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna, 
including catches made under a specified fishing agreement. The 
proposed catch limits and accountability measures would support the 
long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific 
Islands.

DATES: NMFS must receive comments by July 22, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2015-0140, by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0140, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, 
Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp 
Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    NMFS prepared environmental analyses that describe the potential 
impacts on the human environment that would result from the proposed 
catch limits and accountability measures. The environmental analyses 
are available at www.regulations.gov. The information contained in the 
environmental analyses is not repeated here.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIRO Sustainable 
Fisheries, 808-725-5176.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS proposes to specify a catch limit of 
2,000 mt of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. participating 
territory in 2016. NMFS would also authorize each U.S. Pacific 
territory to allocate up to 1,000 mt of its 2,000-mt bigeye tuna limit 
to U.S. longline fishing vessels that are permitted to fish under the 
Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific 
(FEP). Those vessels must be identified in a specified fishing 
agreement with the applicable territory. The Western Pacific Fishery 
Management Council recommended these specifications.

[[Page 44250]]

    NMFS will monitor catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna by the 
longline fisheries of each U.S Pacific territory, including catches 
made by U.S. longline vessels operating under specified fishing 
agreements. The criteria that a specified fishing agreement must meet, 
and the process for attributing longline-caught bigeye tuna, will 
follow the procedures in 50 CFR 665.819 (Territorial catch and fishing 
effort limits). When NMFS projects that a territorial catch or 
allocation limit will be reached, NMFS would, as an accountability 
measure, prohibit the catch and retention of longline-caught bigeye 
tuna by vessels in the applicable territory (if the territorial catch 
limit is projected to be reached), and/or vessels in a specified 
fishing agreement (if the allocation limit is projected to be reached).
    NMFS will consider public comments on the proposed action and will 
announce the final specifications in the Federal Register. NMFS must 
receive any comments by the date provided in the DATES heading. NMFS 
may not consider any comments not postmarked or otherwise transmitted 
by that date. Regardless of the final specifications, all other 
management measures will continue to apply in the longline fishery.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this 
proposed specification is consistent with the applicable FEPs, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, 
subject to further consideration after public comment.

Certification of Finding of No Significant Impact on Substantial Number 
of Small Entities

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce has 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that these proposed specifications, if adopted, would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. A description of the proposed action, why it is being 
considered, and the legal basis for it are contained in the preamble to 
this proposed specification.
    The proposed action would specify a 2016 limit of 2,000 metric tons 
(mt) (4,409,240 lb) of longline-caught bigeye tuna for each U.S. 
Pacific territory (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)). Without this catch limit, these U.S 
territories would not be subject to a limit because they, as 
Participating Territories to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries 
Commission (WCPFC), do not have a bigeye tuna limit under international 
measures adopted by the WCPFC. NMFS would also allow each territory to 
allocate up to 1,000 mt (2,204,620 lb) of its 2,000 mt bigeye tuna 
limit each year to U.S. longline fishing vessels in a specified fishing 
agreement that meets established criteria set forth in 50 CFR 665.819. 
As an accountability measure, NMFS would monitor, attribute, and 
restrict (if necessary) catches of longline-caught bigeye tuna by 
vessels in the applicable U.S. territory (if the territorial catch 
limit is projected to be reached), or by vessels operating under the 
applicable specified fishing agreement (if the allocation limit is 
projected to be reached). Payments under the specified fishing 
agreements support fisheries development in the U.S. Pacific 
territories and the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of 
the U.S. Pacific Islands.
    This proposed action would directly apply to longline vessels 
federally permitted under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic 
Fisheries of the Western Pacific (Pelagic FEP), specifically Hawaii 
longline limited entry, American Samoa longline limited entry, and 
Western Pacific general longline permit holders. As of June 2016, 139 
vessels possessed Hawaii longline limited entry permits (out of 164 
total permits), 40 possessed American Samoa longline limited entry 
permits (out of 60 total permits), and one vessel held a Western 
Pacific general longline permit.
    According to landings information provided in the environmental 
assessment prepared in support of this action and logbook information, 
Hawaii-based longline vessels landed approximately 25,791,000 lb of 
pelagic fish valued at $93,963,000 in 2012 and 27,053,000 lb of pelagic 
fish valued at $88,552,000 in 2013. With 129 vessels making either a 
deep- or shallow-set trip in 2012, and 135 vessels in 2013, the ex-
vessel value of pelagic fish caught by Hawaii-based longline fisheries 
averaged about $728,000 and $656,000 per vessel in 2012 and 2013 
respectively. In 2014, 140 vessels made approximately 1,431 trips, with 
19,115 sets, and 47,130,556 hooks. In 2015, 142 vessels made 
approximately 1,448 trips, with 18,469 sets, and 47,489,544 hooks. 
Final catch, landings, and revenue information for the Hawaii-based 
longline fleet in 2014 and 2015 are not yet available.
    In 2013, 22 American Samoa longline vessels turned in logbooks 
reporting the landing of 162,444 pelagic fish (approximately 6 million 
lb) valued at $6,772,386. Albacore made up the largest proportion of 
pelagic landings in American Samoa at 4,525,453 lb and bigeye tuna 
comprised of 187,954 lb. With 22 active longline vessels, the ex-vessel 
value of pelagic fish caught by the American Samoa longline fishery 
averaged about $307,836 per vessel in 2013. With regard to Guam and 
CNMI, no longline fishing has occurred since 2011.
    On December 29, 2015, NMFS issued a final rule establishing a small 
business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts for all 
businesses primarily engaged in the commercial fishing industry (NAICS 
11411) for Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) compliance purposes only 
(80 FR 81194, December 29, 2015). The $11 million standard became 
effective on July 1, 2016, and is to be used in place of the U.S. Small 
Business Administration's (SBA) current standards of $20.5 million, 
$5.5 million, and $7.5 million for the finfish (NAICS 114111), 
shellfish (NAICS 114112), and other marine fishing (NAICS 114119) 
sectors of the U.S. commercial fishing industry in all NMFS rules 
subject to the RFA after July 1, 2016. Id. at 81194.
    Based on this information, NMFS has determined that all vessels 
permitted federally under the Pelagic FEP are small entities, i.e., 
they are engaged in the business of fish harvesting (NAICS 114111), are 
independently owned or operated, are not dominant in their field of 
operation, and have annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million. 
Even though this proposed action would apply to a substantial number of 
vessels, the implementation of this action would not result in 
significant adverse economic impact to individual vessels. The proposed 
action would potentially benefit Hawaii-based longline fishery 
participants by allowing them to fish under specified fishing 
agreements with a territory, which could extend fishing effort for 
bigeye tuna in the Western Pacific Ocean and provide more bigeye tuna 
for markets in Hawaii.
    Amendment 7 to the Pelagic FEP established a process by which NMFS 
could specify catch and/or effort limits for pelagic fisheries in 
American Samoa, Guam and CNMI, regardless of whether the WCPFC adopts a 
limit for those entities or not. Amendment 7 also allows NMFS to 
authorize the government of each territory to allocate a portion of 
their catch and/or effort limits through territorial fishing 
agreements. Specifically, bigeye tuna landed by vessels included in a 
fishing agreement are attributed to the U.S territory to which the 
agreement

[[Page 44251]]

applies, and not counted towards the U.S. bigeye tuna limit established 
by NMFS under a separate authority in 50 CFR part 300, subpart O.
    In accordance with Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subpart 
O, vessels that possess both an American Samoa and Hawaii longline 
permit are not subject to the U.S bigeye tuna limit. Therefore, these 
vessels may retain bigeye tuna and land fish in Hawaii after the date 
that NMFS projects the fishery would reach that limit. Further, catches 
of bigeye tuna made by such vessels are attributed to American Samoa, 
provided the fish was not caught in the U.S. EEZ around Hawaii. In 
2015, all dual American Samoa/Hawaii longline permitted vessels were 
included in the fishing agreement with CNMI. Therefore, NMFS attributed 
bigeye catches by those vessels to the CNMI.
    The 2016 U.S. bigeye tuna catch limit established in 50 CFR 300, 
Subpart O is 3,554 mt, which is about 1.5% higher than the 2015 limit. 
In 2015, the U.S. longline fishery was subject to a catch limit of 
3,502 mt (WCPFC limit of 3,554 mt less the 2014 catch overage of 52 
mt). NMFS closed the fishery on August 5, 2015, because the fishery 
reached the limit (80 FR 46515, July 28, 2015). However, effective 
October 9, 2015, NMFS specified the 2015 catch and allocation limits 
for the CNMI and all vessels in the Hawaii longline fleet immediately 
entered into a specified fishing agreement with the CNMI. NMFS 
forecasted vessels listed in the CNMI specified fishing agreement would 
reach the 1,000-mt allocation limit on November 30, 2015 and issued a 
notice that it would restrict retention of bigeye tuna by vessels 
identified in that agreement on that date (80 FR 74002, November 27, 
2015). Effective November 25, 2015, NMFS specified the 2015 catch and 
allocation limit for Guam and all Hawaii longline vessels immediately 
entered into a second specified fishing agreement with Guam on that 
date. Preliminary data from PIFSC indicate that Hawaii longline vessels 
caught the entire 1,000-mt bigeye tuna allocation provided by the CNMI 
specified fishing agreement, but did not reach the 1,000 mt allocation 
limit provided by the Guam specified fishing agreement before the 2015 
fishing year ended on December 31, 2015 (NMFS PIFSC unpublished data; 
Preliminary 2015 U.S. Part 1 annual report to the WCPFC).
    Through this action, Hawaii-based longline vessels could again 
potentially enter into one or more fishing agreements with 
participating territories. This would enhance the ability of these 
vessels to extend fishing effort in the Western and Central Pacific 
Ocean and provide more bigeye tuna for markets in Hawaii. Providing 
opportunity to land bigeye tuna in Hawaii in the last quarter of the 
year when market demand is high will result in positive economic 
benefits for fishery participants and net benefits to the nation. 
Allowing participating territories to enter into specified fishing 
agreements under this action, provides benefits to the territories by 
providing funds for territorial fisheries development projects. In 
terms of the impacts of reducing the limits of bigeye tuna catch by 
longline vessels based in the territories from an unlimited amount to 
2,000 mt, this is not likely to adversely affect vessels based in the 
territories.
    Historical catch of bigeye tuna by the American Samoa longline 
fleet has been less than 2,000 mt, even including the catch of vessels 
based in American Samoa, catch by dual permitted vessels that land 
their catch in Hawaii, and catch attributed to American Samoa from U.S. 
vessels under specified fishing agreements (which occurred in 2011 and 
2012). With regard to Guam and CNMI, no longline fishing has occurred 
since 2011.
    Under the proposed action, longline fisheries managed under the 
Pelagic FEP are not expected to expand substantially nor change the 
manner in which they are currently conducted, (i.e., area fished, 
number of vessels longline fishing, number of trips taken per year, 
number of hooks set per vessel during a trip, depth of hooks, or 
deployment techniques in setting longline gear), due to existing 
operational constraints in the fleet, the limited entry permit 
programs, and protected species mitigation requirements. The proposed 
rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with other Federal rules 
and is not expected to have significant impact on small organizations 
or government jurisdictions. Furthermore, there would be little, if 
any, disproportionate adverse economic impacts from the proposed rule 
based on gear type, or relative vessel size. The proposed rule also 
will not place a substantial number of small entities, or any segment 
of small entities, at a significant competitive disadvantage to large 
entities.
    For the reasons above, NMFS does not expect the proposed action to 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. As such, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required and none has been prepared.
    This action is exempt from review under the procedures of E.O. 
12866 because this action contains no implementing regulations.

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

    Dated: June 30, 2016.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-16013 Filed 7-6-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P