Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scup Fishery; Framework Adjustment 9, 55166-55169 [2016-19702]

Download as PDF 55166 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 160 / Thursday, August 18, 2016 / Proposed Rules Number of Petitions Filed: 7. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. 47 CFR Part 54 [WC Docket Nos. 10–90, 14–58, 14–259; Report No. 3050] [FR Doc. 2016–19743 Filed 8–17–16; 8:45 am] Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Petitions for reconsideration and clarification. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Jkt 238001 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 47 CFR Part 54 [WC Docket Nos. 10–90, 14–58 and CC Docket No. 01–92; Report No. 3049] Petitions for Reconsideration and Clarification (Petitions) have been filed in the Commission’s rulemaking proceeding by Joseph DuFresne, on behalf of Broad Valley Micro Fiber Networks, Inc.; Stephen L. Goodman, on behalf of ADTRAN, Inc.; Matthew Crocker, on behalf of Crocker Telecommunications, LLC; Tamara L. Preiss, on behalf of Verizon; Wayne Hawley, on behalf of Southern Tier Wireless, Inc.; Martha A. Duggan and Brett A. Kilbourne, on behalf of National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Utilities Technology Council; and John P. Janka, on behalf of ViaSat, Inc. DATES: Oppositions to the Petition must be filed on or before September 2, 2016. Replies to an opposition must be filed on or before September 12, 2016. ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heidi Lankau, Wireline Competition Bureau, (202) 418–7400, email: Heidi.Lankau@fcc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission’s document, Report No. 3050, released August 12, 2016. The full text of the Petitions is available for viewing and copying at the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY–A257, Washington, DC 20554 or may be accessed online via the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System at http://apps.fcc.gov/ ecfs/. The Commission will not send a copy of the Notice pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), because the Notice does not have an impact on any rules of particular applicability. Subject: Connect America Fund; ETC Annual Reports and Certifications; Rural Broadband Experiments, FCC 16– 64, published at 81 FR 44413, July 7, 2016, in WC Docket Nos. 10–90, 14–58, and 14–259. The Notice is being published pursuant to 47 CFR 1.429(e). See also 47 CFR 1.4(b)(1) and 1.429(f), (g). 15:03 Aug 17, 2016 BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 [FR Doc. 2016–19739 Filed 8–17–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P Petitions for Reconsideration and Clarification of Action in Rulemaking Proceeding SUMMARY: Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Petition for Reconsideration and Clarification of Action in Rulemaking Proceeding Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Petition for reconsideration and clarification. AGENCY: A Petition for Reconsideration and Clarification (Petition) has been filed in the Commission’s rulemaking proceeding by Paul Stark on behalf of Baraga Telephone Company. DATES: Oppositions to the Petition must be filed on or before September 2, 2016. Replies to an opposition must be filed on or before September 12, 2016. ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Suzanne Yelen, Wireline Competition Bureau, (202) 418–0626, email: Suzanne.Yelen@fcc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission’s document, Report No. 3049, released August 10, 2016. The full text of the Petition is available for viewing and copying at the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY–A257, Washington, DC 20554 or may be accessed online via the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System at http://apps.fcc.gov/ ecfs/. The Commission will not send a copy of this Notice pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), because this Notice does not have an impact on any rules of particular applicability. Subject: Connect America Fund; ETC Annual Reports and Certifications; Developing a Unified Intercarrier Compensation Regime, FCC 16–33, published at 81 FR 24282, April 25, 2016, in WC Docket Nos. 10–90 and 14– 58; CC Docket No. 01–92. This Notice is being published pursuant to 47 CFR 1.429(e). See also 47 CFR 1.4(b)(1) and 1.429(f), (g). Number of Petitions Filed: 1. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 160615524–6524–01] RIN 0648–BG13 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scup Fishery; Framework Adjustment 9 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: This action proposes modifications to the Southern Scup Gear Restricted Area, as recommended by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The proposed changes would modify the southern and eastern boundaries of the Southern Scup Gear Restricted Area, which is in effect from January 1 through March 15 of each year. This rule is intended to increase access to traditional squid fishing areas, while maintaining protection for juvenile scup. DATES: Comments must be received by September 19, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2016–0102, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. 1. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA–NMFS–2016– 0102; 2. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon and complete the required fields; and 3. Enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on the Scup GRA Framework.’’ 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 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\18AUP1.SGM 18AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 160 / Thursday, August 18, 2016 / Proposed Rules considered by us. 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. We will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Copies of the Scup Gear Restricted Area Modification Framework, including the draft Environmental Assessment, the Regulatory Impact Review, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis prepared by the MidAtlantic Fishery Management Council in support of this action are available from Dr. Christopher Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901. The supporting documents are also accessible via the Internet at: http:// www.mafmc.org/actions/scup-gearrestricted-areas-framework or http:// www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainable/species/scup/index.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Moira Kelly, Fishery Program Specialist, phone: 978–281–9218; email: Moira.Kelly@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Scup (Stenotomus chrysops) is managed jointly by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission through the Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The management unit specified in the FMP for scup is U.S. waters of the Atlantic VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:03 Aug 17, 2016 Jkt 238001 Ocean from 35°13.3′ N. lat. (the latitude of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Buxton, NC) northward to the U.S./Canada border. Currently, the scup stock is not overfished and it is not experiencing overfishing. When scup was overfished prior to 2009, the Council and NMFS determined that juvenile scup mortality in small-mesh fisheries (i.e., those fisheries using mesh smaller than the minimum size specified in the scup regulations) was highly problematic. Two seasonal Gear Restricted Areas (GRAs) were implemented to prohibit vessels fishing for squid, black sea bass, or silver hake (also known as whiting) from using mesh smaller than the 5.0inch (12.7-cm) minimum scup mesh size in the areas during certain times of year. The GRAs were implemented in 2000 (May 24, 2000, 65 FR 33486) and modified several times (December 27, 2000, 65 FR 81761; March 1, 2001, 66 FR 12902; January 2, 2003, 68 FR 60; January 4, 2005, 70 FR 303) between 2000 and 2005. Details on the changes to the GRAs are described in those actions and are not repeated here. Most often the changes were enacted to accommodate access for one of the regulated small-mesh fisheries, while still maintaining an effective level of protection for juvenile scup. The GRAs in their current forms have been in effect since 2003 (Northern GRA) and 2005 (Southern GRA). Scup has been considered rebuilt since 2009, and is currently estimated to be approximately 210 percent of the biomass target, although it has begun to decline in recent years. Research by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center suggests that minimizing juvenile mortality in the GRAs likely contributed to the recovery and expansion of the scup population. Like the prior modifications, the Council began considering modifying PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 55167 the GRAs in early 2014 in response to requests from the squid fishery to increase access to historic fishing grounds during the seasons in which the GRAs are in effect. Because of the spatial overlap of several of the alternatives in the Council’s Deep-Sea Coral Amendment (http:// www.mafmc.org/actions/msb-am16), the Council postponed development of the Scup GRA framework until action on the Coral Amendment had been completed. The Council took final action on the Deep-Sea Coral Amendment in June 2015, and the action is currently under review at NMFS. The Council initially considered modifications to the boundaries and seasons of both GRAs, but ultimately determined that the only changes warranted at this time were to the southern and eastern boundaries of the Southern GRA. The Council considered several variations of the Southern GRA boundary and determined that the proposed measure best balanced the needs of the squid fishery and the protective value of the Southern GRA for juvenile scup from January 1–March 15. Proposed Modifications The proposed change to the Southern GRA would shift the eastern boundary west roughly following the outermost points of the proposed Deep-Sea Coral Protection Areas. The proposal would also remove the southern portions of the GRA that overlap statistical areas 631 and 632. The current (thick outline) and proposed (hatched) Southern GRA are shown in the figure below. The proposed Southern GRA coordinates are provided in the proposed regulatory text. E:\FR\FM\18AUP1.SGM 18AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 160 / Thursday, August 18, 2016 / Proposed Rules The Council designed the recommended modifications to minimize overlap between the GRA and the recommended discrete deep-sea coral areas. The eastern boundary is intended to restore access to the squid fishery in areas approximately 55 to 60 fathoms (100 to 110 m) and deeper. The shift to the southern boundary north is based on analysis suggesting there are very few scup in statistical areas 631 and 632 from January through March. The Council’s proposal would marginally reduce the amount of protection for the scup stock, in return for a modest increase in squid availability. The proposed Southern GRA is smaller than the current one; slightly reducing coverage of the scup estimated to the covered by the GRA. However, analysis shows that this change would result in a modest increase in access for the squid and whiting fisheries and a slight increase in the availability of black sea bass in the GRA from January 1–March 15. It is important to note, however, that the amount of each stock (by weight) currently estimated to be within the GRA during the winter is only a small fraction of the total stock abundance during that same timeframe. As a result, we do not expect the proposed VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:03 Aug 17, 2016 Jkt 238001 boundary changes to compromise the scup stock or result in overfishing for squid, black sea bass, or whiting. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Council conducted an evaluation of the potential socioeconomic impacts of the proposed measures in conjunction with an Environmental Assessment. There were 64 federally permitted squid, whiting, and black sea bass vessels fishing with small-mesh from January 1–March 15 in the statistical areas covered by the GRA for PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the past three years. These are the vessels likely to be affected by this action. For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. Of those 64 vessels, 61 are considered ‘‘small’’ by the NMFS size standards, and three are considered ‘‘large.’’ The proposed measure would modify the boundaries of the Southern Scup GRA and is intended to increase access to the squid, whiting, and black sea bass fisheries. The boundary changes were designed to maintain a high level of discard mortality protection for the scup fishery, while increasing opportunity, and therefore revenue, for the small-mesh fishery targeting squid, whiting, and black sea bass. The changes are not expected to result in excessive increases in mortality for any species. As a result, economic impact of this action is E:\FR\FM\18AUP1.SGM 18AUP1 EP18AU16.010</GPH> sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS 55168 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 160 / Thursday, August 18, 2016 / Proposed Rules expected to be slightly positive for all of the affected vessels in those fisheries. Because this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. There are no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements contained in any of the alternatives considered for this action. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: August 12, 2016. Paul Doremus, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:03 Aug 17, 2016 Jkt 238001 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.124, revise paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows: ■ § 648.124 Scup commercial season and commercial fishery area restrictions. 55169 SOUTHERN GEAR RESTRICTED AREA Point SGA1 ........ SGA2 ........ SGA3 ........ SGA4 ........ SGA5 ........ SGA6 ........ SGA7 ........ SGA8 ........ SGA9 ........ SGA10 ...... SGA11 ...... SGA12 ...... SGA13 ...... SGA14 ...... SGA15 ...... SGA16 ...... SGA17 ...... SGA18 ...... SGA19 ...... SGA20 ...... SGA1 ........ N. lat. 39.333333 39.073019 38.496545 38.477560 38.495300 38.438654 38.219230 38.229019 38.199688 37.492224 37.490513 37.476656 37.116111 37.097222 37.073889 37.057931 37.000000 37.000000 38.000000 39.333333 39.333333 W. long. ¥72.616667 ¥72.786958 ¥73.467370 ¥73.489477 ¥73.510888 ¥73.557363 ¥73.829500 ¥73.845524 ¥73.877487 ¥74.499182 ¥74.504757 ¥74.510019 ¥74.680000 ¥74.759444 ¥74.683889 ¥74.672732 ¥74.716667 ¥75.050000 ¥74.383333 ¥72.883333 ¥72.616667 (a) Southern Gear Restricted Area—(1) Restrictions. From January 1 through March 15, all trawl vessels in the Southern Gear Restricted Area that fish for or possess non-exempt species as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section must fish with nets that have a minimum mesh size of 5.0-inch (12.7cm) diamond mesh, applied throughout the codend for at least 75 continuous meshes forward of the terminus of the net. For trawl nets with codends (including an extension) of fewer than 75 meshes, the entire trawl net must have a minimum mesh size of 5.0 inches (12.7 cm) throughout the net. The Southern Gear Restricted Area is an area bounded by straight lines connecting * * * * * the following points in the order stated [FR Doc. 2016–19702 Filed 8–17–16; 8:45 am] (copies of a chart depicting the area are BILLING CODE 3510–22–P available from the Regional Administrator upon request): PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\18AUP1.SGM 18AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 160 (Thursday, August 18, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 55166-55169]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-19702]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 160615524-6524-01]
RIN 0648-BG13


Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scup Fishery; 
Framework Adjustment 9

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This action proposes modifications to the Southern Scup Gear 
Restricted Area, as recommended by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management 
Council. The proposed changes would modify the southern and eastern 
boundaries of the Southern Scup Gear Restricted Area, which is in 
effect from January 1 through March 15 of each year. This rule is 
intended to increase access to traditional squid fishing areas, while 
maintaining protection for juvenile scup.

DATES: Comments must be received by September 19, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0102, 
by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
    1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0102;
    2. Click the ``Comment Now!'' icon and complete the required 
fields; and
    3. Enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional 
Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic 
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, 
``Comments on the Scup GRA Framework.''
    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

[[Page 55167]]

considered by us. 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. We will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' 
in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).
    Copies of the Scup Gear Restricted Area Modification Framework, 
including the draft Environmental Assessment, the Regulatory Impact 
Review, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis prepared by the 
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in support of this action are 
available from Dr. Christopher Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, 
DE 19901. The supporting documents are also accessible via the Internet 
at: http://www.mafmc.org/actions/scup-gear-restricted-areas-framework 
or http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/species/scup/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Moira Kelly, Fishery Program 
Specialist, phone: 978-281-9218; email: Moira.Kelly@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Scup (Stenotomus chrysops) is managed jointly by the Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries 
Commission through the Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP). The management unit specified in the FMP for 
scup is U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean from 35[deg]13.3' N. lat. 
(the latitude of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Buxton, NC) northward to the 
U.S./Canada border. Currently, the scup stock is not overfished and it 
is not experiencing overfishing.
    When scup was overfished prior to 2009, the Council and NMFS 
determined that juvenile scup mortality in small-mesh fisheries (i.e., 
those fisheries using mesh smaller than the minimum size specified in 
the scup regulations) was highly problematic. Two seasonal Gear 
Restricted Areas (GRAs) were implemented to prohibit vessels fishing 
for squid, black sea bass, or silver hake (also known as whiting) from 
using mesh smaller than the 5.0-inch (12.7-cm) minimum scup mesh size 
in the areas during certain times of year. The GRAs were implemented in 
2000 (May 24, 2000, 65 FR 33486) and modified several times (December 
27, 2000, 65 FR 81761; March 1, 2001, 66 FR 12902; January 2, 2003, 68 
FR 60; January 4, 2005, 70 FR 303) between 2000 and 2005. Details on 
the changes to the GRAs are described in those actions and are not 
repeated here. Most often the changes were enacted to accommodate 
access for one of the regulated small-mesh fisheries, while still 
maintaining an effective level of protection for juvenile scup. The 
GRAs in their current forms have been in effect since 2003 (Northern 
GRA) and 2005 (Southern GRA). Scup has been considered rebuilt since 
2009, and is currently estimated to be approximately 210 percent of the 
biomass target, although it has begun to decline in recent years. 
Research by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center suggests that 
minimizing juvenile mortality in the GRAs likely contributed to the 
recovery and expansion of the scup population.
    Like the prior modifications, the Council began considering 
modifying the GRAs in early 2014 in response to requests from the squid 
fishery to increase access to historic fishing grounds during the 
seasons in which the GRAs are in effect. Because of the spatial overlap 
of several of the alternatives in the Council's Deep-Sea Coral 
Amendment (http://www.mafmc.org/actions/msb-am16), the Council 
postponed development of the Scup GRA framework until action on the 
Coral Amendment had been completed. The Council took final action on 
the Deep-Sea Coral Amendment in June 2015, and the action is currently 
under review at NMFS.
    The Council initially considered modifications to the boundaries 
and seasons of both GRAs, but ultimately determined that the only 
changes warranted at this time were to the southern and eastern 
boundaries of the Southern GRA. The Council considered several 
variations of the Southern GRA boundary and determined that the 
proposed measure best balanced the needs of the squid fishery and the 
protective value of the Southern GRA for juvenile scup from January 1-
March 15.

Proposed Modifications

    The proposed change to the Southern GRA would shift the eastern 
boundary west roughly following the outermost points of the proposed 
Deep-Sea Coral Protection Areas. The proposal would also remove the 
southern portions of the GRA that overlap statistical areas 631 and 
632. The current (thick outline) and proposed (hatched) Southern GRA 
are shown in the figure below. The proposed Southern GRA coordinates 
are provided in the proposed regulatory text.

[[Page 55168]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP18AU16.010

    The Council designed the recommended modifications to minimize 
overlap between the GRA and the recommended discrete deep-sea coral 
areas. The eastern boundary is intended to restore access to the squid 
fishery in areas approximately 55 to 60 fathoms (100 to 110 m) and 
deeper. The shift to the southern boundary north is based on analysis 
suggesting there are very few scup in statistical areas 631 and 632 
from January through March. The Council's proposal would marginally 
reduce the amount of protection for the scup stock, in return for a 
modest increase in squid availability. The proposed Southern GRA is 
smaller than the current one; slightly reducing coverage of the scup 
estimated to the covered by the GRA. However, analysis shows that this 
change would result in a modest increase in access for the squid and 
whiting fisheries and a slight increase in the availability of black 
sea bass in the GRA from January 1-March 15. It is important to note, 
however, that the amount of each stock (by weight) currently estimated 
to be within the GRA during the winter is only a small fraction of the 
total stock abundance during that same timeframe. As a result, we do 
not expect the proposed boundary changes to compromise the scup stock 
or result in overfishing for squid, black sea bass, or whiting.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP, 
other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, 
subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    The Council conducted an evaluation of the potential socioeconomic 
impacts of the proposed measures in conjunction with an Environmental 
Assessment. There were 64 federally permitted squid, whiting, and black 
sea bass vessels fishing with small-mesh from January 1-March 15 in the 
statistical areas covered by the GRA for the past three years. These 
are the vessels likely to be affected by this action. For RFA purposes 
only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for 
businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is 
commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in 
commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business 
if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field 
of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual 
receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations 
worldwide. Of those 64 vessels, 61 are considered ``small'' by the NMFS 
size standards, and three are considered ``large.'' The proposed 
measure would modify the boundaries of the Southern Scup GRA and is 
intended to increase access to the squid, whiting, and black sea bass 
fisheries. The boundary changes were designed to maintain a high level 
of discard mortality protection for the scup fishery, while increasing 
opportunity, and therefore revenue, for the small-mesh fishery 
targeting squid, whiting, and black sea bass. The changes are not 
expected to result in excessive increases in mortality for any species. 
As a result, economic impact of this action is

[[Page 55169]]

expected to be slightly positive for all of the affected vessels in 
those fisheries.
    Because this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required and none has been prepared.
    There are no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements contained 
in any of the alternatives considered for this action.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: August 12, 2016.
Paul Doremus,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed 
to be amended as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. In Sec.  648.124, revise paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.124  Scup commercial season and commercial fishery area 
restrictions.

    (a) Southern Gear Restricted Area--(1) Restrictions. From January 1 
through March 15, all trawl vessels in the Southern Gear Restricted 
Area that fish for or possess non-exempt species as specified in 
paragraph (a)(2) of this section must fish with nets that have a 
minimum mesh size of 5.0-inch (12.7-cm) diamond mesh, applied 
throughout the codend for at least 75 continuous meshes forward of the 
terminus of the net. For trawl nets with codends (including an 
extension) of fewer than 75 meshes, the entire trawl net must have a 
minimum mesh size of 5.0 inches (12.7 cm) throughout the net. The 
Southern Gear Restricted Area is an area bounded by straight lines 
connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart 
depicting the area are available from the Regional Administrator upon 
request):

                      Southern Gear Restricted Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Point                       N. lat.        W. long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SGA1....................................       39.333333      -72.616667
SGA2....................................       39.073019      -72.786958
SGA3....................................       38.496545      -73.467370
SGA4....................................       38.477560      -73.489477
SGA5....................................       38.495300      -73.510888
SGA6....................................       38.438654      -73.557363
SGA7....................................       38.219230      -73.829500
SGA8....................................       38.229019      -73.845524
SGA9....................................       38.199688      -73.877487
SGA10...................................       37.492224      -74.499182
SGA11...................................       37.490513      -74.504757
SGA12...................................       37.476656      -74.510019
SGA13...................................       37.116111      -74.680000
SGA14...................................       37.097222      -74.759444
SGA15...................................       37.073889      -74.683889
SGA16...................................       37.057931      -74.672732
SGA17...................................       37.000000      -74.716667
SGA18...................................       37.000000      -75.050000
SGA19...................................       38.000000      -74.383333
SGA20...................................       39.333333      -72.883333
SGA1....................................       39.333333      -72.616667
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2016-19702 Filed 8-17-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P