Pacific Island Fisheries; Aquaculture, 57567-57569 [2016-20048]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 163 / Tuesday, August 23, 2016 / Notices the needs determined by NMFS and SEDAR staff. In 2017, NMFS intends to update the Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark stock assessment and conduct a standard assessment for sandbar sharks. In 2018, NMFS intends to conduct a benchmark assessment for Atlantic blacktip sharks. During an assessment year, meetings and meeting logistics will be determined according to the SEDAR Guidelines. All meetings are open for observation by the public. Dated: August 18, 2016. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–20103 Filed 8–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE812 Pacific Island Fisheries; Aquaculture National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS, in coordination with the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), intends to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to analyze the potential environmental impacts of a proposed Pacific Islands Region (PIR) aquaculture management program and alternatives. Publication of this notice begins the official public scoping process to help identify alternatives and determine the scope of environmental issues for consideration in the PEIS. The PEIS is intended to support offshore aquaculture development, including appropriate management unit species (MUS) for aquaculture, reasonably foreseeable types of offshore aquaculture operations, and permitting and reporting requirements for persons conducting aquaculture activities in Federal waters. DATES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting dates. NMFS must receive comments by October 31, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this action, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2016–0111, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:56 Aug 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0111, 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. • Scoping Meeting: Submit written comments at a scoping meeting held by NMFS for this action. Instructions: You must submit comments by the above methods to ensure that NMFS receives, documents, and considers your comments. NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. NMFS will consider all comments received as part of the public record and will generally post comments for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Nichols, NMFS, Pacific Islands Regional Office, (808) 725–5180. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage fisheries in U.S. Federal waters in the Pacific Islands through five fishery ecosystem plans (FEPs). The Council recommended amending the five FEPs to establish a management program for aquaculture fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). NMFS is working with the Council to develop a management program that would regulate and promote environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture in Federal waters of the Pacific Islands Region. In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and consistent with Council recommendations, the intent of the PEIS is to evaluate the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the human environment of the proposed Federal action that includes alternative management approaches to implementing an aquaculture management program in the PIR. NEPA requires NMFS to consider the potential impacts of the proposed action and PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 57567 reasonable alternatives to inform the selection of a final preferred alternative for the proposed Pacific Islands aquaculture management program. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS has authority to regulate commercial fisheries in Federal waters, including aquaculture. Landings or possession of fish in the EEZ from the commercial marine aquaculture production of any species managed under an FEP in the PIR constitutes ‘‘fishing’’ as defined in MagnusonStevens Act Section 3(16). Fishing includes all activities and operations related to the taking, catching, or harvesting of fish. The U.S. EEZ in the Pacific Islands generally consists of waters from 3 nm to 200 nm around American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Island, Wake Island, and Palmyra Atoll and includes all islands and reefs appurtenant to such islands, reefs, or atolls. With the exception of coral reef ecosystem species, there is no requirement for Federal permits to conduct aquaculture for MUS in Federal waters. The existing regulatory process is complex and requires multiple permits from several different Federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and NMFS. The preliminary proposed Federal action will identify areas and species suitable for offshore aquaculture, describe the reasonably foreseeable types of offshore aquaculture operations, and provide an early assessment of the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of such proposed activities. Completing a PEIS for an aquaculture management program will facilitate the review and processing of aquaculture fishery proposals, supporting NEPA reviews for future projects. The PEIS will include information that NMFS would use to understand the potential effects of managing aquaculture in compliance with applicable laws, including the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), and other applicable laws. In addition, the PEIS would allow for intergovernmental public review and input as NMFS develops and considers approval of the management program. The development and content of the PEIS must also be consistent with the NOAA Administrative Orders (NAO) 216–6A as E:\FR\FM\23AUN1.SGM 23AUN1 57568 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 163 / Tuesday, August 23, 2016 / Notices amended, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 1500–1508. NMFS will also prepare economic analyses consistent with the Regulatory Flexibility Act and a regulatory impact review under Executive Order 12866 to consider in its decision-making for the aquaculture management program. Scoping is an early and open process for determining the scope, or range, of issues that NMFS should address in a PEIS and for identifying the significant issues related to the proposed action. NMFS will also use this scoping process to seek information relating to the extent to which greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts associated with the proposed action. NMFS is also soliciting information to consider the effects of the proposed project on historic properties, if any such properties are present. NMFS has developed two preliminary alternatives for consideration during scoping: A ‘‘no-action,’’ or status-quo, aquaculture management alternative, and an alternative that incorporates recommendations from Council meetings since 2008 regarding the development of aquaculture requirements for the five FEPs. The preliminary alternatives shown in Table 1 include a suite of eight possible management actions to consider in the development of a sustainable aquaculture management program for each FEP. NMFS based the preliminary proposed action on Council recommendations and the goals and objectives for responsible development and management of aquaculture in Federal waters. These goals and objectives are in the NOAA Aquaculture Policy Statement (available here: http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/ policy/24_aquaculture_policies.html). Under Preliminary Proposed Alternative 1, the No-Action Alternative, NMFS would not implement a permit process for aquaculture in the PIR. The Council and NMFS may provide guidance to potential aquaculture operators, consistent with Council aquaculture recommendations, NMFS Aquaculture Policy, and other applicable guidance and laws. Under this alternative, NMFS would not have a management program specific to each FEP (Table 1). The draft PEIS must include an evaluation of the No-Action Alternative in accordance with NEPA. Preliminary Proposed Alternative 2 would establish an aquaculture management program that includes elements from each of the eight actions listed in Table 1. Recent Council input on a Pacific Islands Region aquaculture management plan have resulted in recommendations that aquaculture operations do the following: 1. Follow a Council-established review process; 2. Contain permitting and reporting requirements for aquaculture operations including criteria for a limited entry program; and 3. Include environmental monitoring and inspection requirements in the FEP amendment that are consistent with requirements already in place by the State of Hawaii. Actions include developing a permit process that allows managers to control participation and developing monitoring and reporting requirements to monitor effort, catch, and environmental impacts as the program develops. Potential aquaculture operators would need to acquire a Federal permit from NMFS (Table 1). TABLE 1—PRELIMINARY PROPOSED ALTERNATIVES FOR CONSIDERATION DURING THE SCOPING PROCESS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SUSTAINABLE, AQUACULTURE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM IN THE PIR EEZ Action Alternative 1—status quo/no action Alternative 2—establish an aquaculture management program for Federal waters Action 1: Aquaculture Permit Requirements, Eligibility and Transferability. NMFS currently has no aquaculture management program. Fishing with new gear type, including net pens, for coral reef ecosystem MUS may require a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit (SCREFP) in the EEZ. SCREFP requirements for coral reef ecosystem MUS are developed on case-by-case basis. Under the status-quo SCREFPs are effective for no longer than one year unless otherwise specified. Alternative 2 would establish eligibility, application requirements, and restrictions for transferable aquaculture permits. Action 2: Operational Requirements. Action 3: Duration of Permits Action 4: Allowable Marine Aquaculture Systems. Alternative 1 does not specify allowable systems for growing cultured organisms in the PIR EEZ. Action 5: Species Allowed for Aquaculture. Under Alternative 1 only coral reef ecosystem MUS are required to have a permit when using new gear type, including net pen gear. No restrictions exist for other MUS. Alternative 1 does not restrict or otherwise identify aquaculture locations. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Action 6: Aquaculture Siting Requirements and Conditions. Action 7: Record-keeping and Reporting Requirements. The NMFS Regional Administrator has authority to specify record-keeping and reporting requirements in a SCREFP. Action 8: Framework Procedures. Under Alternative 1, specific framework procedures for modifying aquaculture management measures would not be identified. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:56 Aug 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Alternative 2 would establish operational requirements specific to the aquaculture system. An aquaculture permit would be effective for either five, 10, or 20 years and may be renewed in multi-year increments. Alternative 2 would allow only cages and net pens for aquaculture in the PIR EEZ of specific size and construction. Deviations from these systems would require additional analysis. Alternative 2 would allow aquaculture of only finfish in the PIR EEZ. Alternative 2 would establish marine aquaculture zones, within which NMFS would permit individual sites. Separate facilities within these zones would be spaced at distances based on facility size and oceanographic, biological and human use considerations. Alternative 2 would establish electronic record-keeping and reporting requirements that address, at a minimum, escapement, entanglements and interactions with protected species, pathogens and disease, brood stock harvest, water quality monitoring, and aquaculture harvest. Applicants must conduct a baseline assessment and monitoring at the site. Under Alternative 2, NMFS would specify framework procedures for modifying management measures for offshore marine aquaculture in the PIR EEZ. E:\FR\FM\23AUN1.SGM 23AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 163 / Tuesday, August 23, 2016 / Notices NMFS recognizes that any alternatives considered in the draft PEIS will be based on the combined input from the public, research institutions, fishermen, non-governmental organizations, and affected State and Federal agencies, and Council processes. A principal objective of the scoping process is to identify a range of alternatives that will delineate critical issues and provide a clear basis for distinguishing among those alternatives, and to support the selection of a preferred alternative. NMFS is seeking input during scoping regarding the eight actions in Table 1 that make up the features of an aquaculture management program to assist in developing the reasonable range of alternatives to analyze in the draft PEIS. In addition, NMFS is seeking input from the public on the issues that NMFS should address in the draft PEIS related to an aquaculture management program and the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the alternatives on the human environment. After NMFS analyzes a set of management alternatives, the Council may recommend a preferred proposed Federal action alternative. NMFS would then analyze the preferred alternative and a reasonable range of alternatives in a draft PEIS. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Public Involvement Through this notice, we are notifying the public that NMFS has initiated a NEPA analysis and decision-making process for this proposed action so that interested or affected people may participate and contribute to the development of a final set of alternatives and analysis of environmental effects for NMFS and the Council to consider for an aquaculture management program. Public involvement will provide the information required by NMFS and the Council to identify the necessary scope and range of reasonable management alternatives including the need for additional alternatives that will provide a sound and scientific basis for developing a sustainable and long-term aquaculture management program in the PIR. NMFS will again ask for additional public comments once NMFS publishes the Draft PEIS, probably in late spring 2017. You may find more information about the NMFS aquaculture program and the progress of the PEIS at http:// www.fpir.noaa.gov/SFD/SFD_aq.html. Meetings NMFS will hold the following public scoping meetings. All meetings will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:56 Aug 22, 2016 Jkt 238001 57569 1. Pago Pago, AS, Thursday, September 8, 2016, NOAA Fisheries Conference Room, Pago Plaza, Suite 208, Pago Pago, AS 96799. 2. Hilo, HI, Tuesday, September 13, 2016, University of Hawaii at Hilo, United Classroom Building (UCB) 111, 200 W. Kawili St., Hilo, HI 96720. 3. Kailua-Kona, HI, Wednesday, September 14, 2016, West Hawaii Civic Center, Community Meeting Hale (Bldg. G), 74–5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740. 4. Honolulu, HI, Thursday, October 13, 2016, NOAA Fisheries Honolulu Service Center at Pier 38, Honolulu Harbor, 1139 N. Nimitz Hwy., Suite 220, Honolulu, HI 96817. NMFS is also planning to hold scoping meetings in the CNMI and Guam during October 2016. NMFS will announce the details of these meetings in a separate Federal Register notice. • Hand Delivery/Courier: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Attention: PRA Office), 1275 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002. Please note that comments submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. In general, all comments received will become public records, including any personal information provided. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, should not be included. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Documentation prepared in support of this information collection request is available at www.regulations.gov. Requests for additional information should be directed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (Attention: PRA Office), 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552, (202) 435–9575, or email: CFPB_PRA@cfpb.gov. Please do not submit comments to this mailbox. Dated: August 17, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [FR Doc. 2016–20048 Filed 8–22–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION [Docket No.: CFPB–2016–0042] Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. ACTION: Notice and request for comment. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is requesting a new information collection titled, ‘‘Application Forms for Financial Empowerment Partnerships.’’ DATES: Written comments are encouraged and must be received on or before October 24, 2016 to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection, OMB Control Number (see below), and docket number (see above), by any of the following methods: • Electronic: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Attention: PRA Office), 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Title of Collection: Application Forms for Financial Empowerment Partnerships. OMB Control Number: 3170–0NEW. Type of Review: New collection (Request for a new OMB Control Number). Affected Public: Private Sector (e.g., community-based organizations and national non-profit organizations), State, Local, or Tribal Governments, and Federal Government. Estimated Number of Respondents: 285. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 1,625. Abstract: The Bureau’s Office of Financial Empowerment (Empowerment) is responsible for developing strategies to improve the financial capability of low-income and economically vulnerable consumers, such as consumers who are unbanked or underbanked, those with thin or no credit file, and households with limited savings. To address the needs of these consumers, Empowerment has developed three initiatives that target intermediary organizations and provide tools, training, technical assistance, and other services to help them reach lowincome and economically vulnerable consumers to provide them the financial empowerment tools and information that they need, when they need it, where they are. These initiatives: (1) Your Money, Your Goals, (2) Financial Coaching, and (3) Tax Time Savings all require Bureau to engage organizations to participate in our financial empowerment initiatives. The proposed information collection request consists E:\FR\FM\23AUN1.SGM 23AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 163 (Tuesday, August 23, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 57567-57569]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-20048]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE812


Pacific Island Fisheries; Aquaculture

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

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS, in coordination with the Western Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council), intends to prepare a Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to analyze the potential 
environmental impacts of a proposed Pacific Islands Region (PIR) 
aquaculture management program and alternatives. Publication of this 
notice begins the official public scoping process to help identify 
alternatives and determine the scope of environmental issues for 
consideration in the PEIS. The PEIS is intended to support offshore 
aquaculture development, including appropriate management unit species 
(MUS) for aquaculture, reasonably foreseeable types of offshore 
aquaculture operations, and permitting and reporting requirements for 
persons conducting aquaculture activities in Federal waters.

DATES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting dates. NMFS 
must receive comments by October 31, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this action, identified by NOAA-
NMFS-2016-0111, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0111, 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.
     Scoping Meeting: Submit written comments at a scoping 
meeting held by NMFS for this action.
    Instructions: You must submit comments by the above methods to 
ensure that NMFS receives, documents, and considers your comments. NMFS 
may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. 
NMFS will consider all comments received as part of the public record 
and will generally post comments for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address) submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Nichols, NMFS, Pacific Islands 
Regional Office, (808) 725-5180.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Council manage fisheries in 
U.S. Federal waters in the Pacific Islands through five fishery 
ecosystem plans (FEPs). The Council recommended amending the five FEPs 
to establish a management program for aquaculture fisheries under the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act). NMFS is working with the Council to develop a management 
program that would regulate and promote environmentally sound and 
economically sustainable aquaculture in Federal waters of the Pacific 
Islands Region.
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 
consistent with Council recommendations, the intent of the PEIS is to 
evaluate the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the 
human environment of the proposed Federal action that includes 
alternative management approaches to implementing an aquaculture 
management program in the PIR. NEPA requires NMFS to consider the 
potential impacts of the proposed action and reasonable alternatives to 
inform the selection of a final preferred alternative for the proposed 
Pacific Islands aquaculture management program.
    Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS has authority to regulate 
commercial fisheries in Federal waters, including aquaculture. Landings 
or possession of fish in the EEZ from the commercial marine aquaculture 
production of any species managed under an FEP in the PIR constitutes 
``fishing'' as defined in Magnuson-Stevens Act Section 3(16). Fishing 
includes all activities and operations related to the taking, catching, 
or harvesting of fish. The U.S. EEZ in the Pacific Islands generally 
consists of waters from 3 nm to 200 nm around American Samoa, Guam, 
Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Baker 
Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, 
Midway Island, Wake Island, and Palmyra Atoll and includes all islands 
and reefs appurtenant to such islands, reefs, or atolls.
    With the exception of coral reef ecosystem species, there is no 
requirement for Federal permits to conduct aquaculture for MUS in 
Federal waters. The existing regulatory process is complex and requires 
multiple permits from several different Federal agencies, including the 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers (USACE), and NMFS.
    The preliminary proposed Federal action will identify areas and 
species suitable for offshore aquaculture, describe the reasonably 
foreseeable types of offshore aquaculture operations, and provide an 
early assessment of the potential social, economic, and environmental 
impacts of such proposed activities. Completing a PEIS for an 
aquaculture management program will facilitate the review and 
processing of aquaculture fishery proposals, supporting NEPA reviews 
for future projects.
    The PEIS will include information that NMFS would use to understand 
the potential effects of managing aquaculture in compliance with 
applicable laws, including the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Endangered Species 
Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Coastal Zone 
Management Act (CZMA), and other applicable laws. In addition, the PEIS 
would allow for intergovernmental public review and input as NMFS 
develops and considers approval of the management program. The 
development and content of the PEIS must also be consistent with the 
NOAA Administrative Orders (NAO) 216-6A as

[[Page 57568]]

amended, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations at 
Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 1500-1508. NMFS will 
also prepare economic analyses consistent with the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act and a regulatory impact review under Executive Order 
12866 to consider in its decision-making for the aquaculture management 
program. Scoping is an early and open process for determining the 
scope, or range, of issues that NMFS should address in a PEIS and for 
identifying the significant issues related to the proposed action. NMFS 
will also use this scoping process to seek information relating to the 
extent to which greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts 
associated with the proposed action. NMFS is also soliciting 
information to consider the effects of the proposed project on historic 
properties, if any such properties are present.
    NMFS has developed two preliminary alternatives for consideration 
during scoping: A ``no-action,'' or status-quo, aquaculture management 
alternative, and an alternative that incorporates recommendations from 
Council meetings since 2008 regarding the development of aquaculture 
requirements for the five FEPs. The preliminary alternatives shown in 
Table 1 include a suite of eight possible management actions to 
consider in the development of a sustainable aquaculture management 
program for each FEP. NMFS based the preliminary proposed action on 
Council recommendations and the goals and objectives for responsible 
development and management of aquaculture in Federal waters. These 
goals and objectives are in the NOAA Aquaculture Policy Statement 
(available here: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/policy/24_aquaculture_policies.html). Under Preliminary Proposed Alternative 
1, the No-Action Alternative, NMFS would not implement a permit process 
for aquaculture in the PIR. The Council and NMFS may provide guidance 
to potential aquaculture operators, consistent with Council aquaculture 
recommendations, NMFS Aquaculture Policy, and other applicable guidance 
and laws. Under this alternative, NMFS would not have a management 
program specific to each FEP (Table 1). The draft PEIS must include an 
evaluation of the No-Action Alternative in accordance with NEPA.
    Preliminary Proposed Alternative 2 would establish an aquaculture 
management program that includes elements from each of the eight 
actions listed in Table 1. Recent Council input on a Pacific Islands 
Region aquaculture management plan have resulted in recommendations 
that aquaculture operations do the following:
    1. Follow a Council-established review process;
    2. Contain permitting and reporting requirements for aquaculture 
operations including criteria for a limited entry program; and
    3. Include environmental monitoring and inspection requirements in 
the FEP amendment that are consistent with requirements already in 
place by the State of Hawaii.
    Actions include developing a permit process that allows managers to 
control participation and developing monitoring and reporting 
requirements to monitor effort, catch, and environmental impacts as the 
program develops. Potential aquaculture operators would need to acquire 
a Federal permit from NMFS (Table 1).

 Table 1--Preliminary Proposed Alternatives for Consideration During the
    Scoping Process on the Development of a Sustainable, Aquaculture
                    Management Program in the PIR EEZ
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Alternative 2--
                                 Alternative 1--        establish an
           Action             status quo/no action       aquaculture
                                                     management program
                                                     for Federal waters
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Action 1: Aquaculture Permit  NMFS currently has    Alternative 2 would
 Requirements, Eligibility     no aquaculture        establish
 and Transferability.          management program.   eligibility,
                               Fishing with new      application
                               gear type,            requirements, and
                               including net pens,   restrictions for
                               for coral reef        transferable
                               ecosystem MUS may     aquaculture
                               require a Special     permits.
                               Coral Reef
                               Ecosystem Fishing
                               Permit (SCREFP) in
                               the EEZ.
Action 2: Operational         SCREFP requirements   Alternative 2 would
 Requirements.                 for coral reef        establish
                               ecosystem MUS are     operational
                               developed on case-    requirements
                               by-case basis.        specific to the
                                                     aquaculture system.
Action 3: Duration of         Under the status-quo  An aquaculture
 Permits.                      SCREFPs are           permit would be
                               effective for no      effective for
                               longer than one       either five, 10, or
                               year unless           20 years and may be
                               otherwise specified.  renewed in multi-
                                                     year increments.
Action 4: Allowable Marine    Alternative 1 does    Alternative 2 would
 Aquaculture Systems.          not specify           allow only cages
                               allowable systems     and net pens for
                               for growing           aquaculture in the
                               cultured organisms    PIR EEZ of specific
                               in the PIR EEZ.       size and
                                                     construction.
                                                     Deviations from
                                                     these systems would
                                                     require additional
                                                     analysis.
Action 5: Species Allowed     Under Alternative 1   Alternative 2 would
 for Aquaculture.              only coral reef       allow aquaculture
                               ecosystem MUS are     of only finfish in
                               required to have a    the PIR EEZ.
                               permit when using
                               new gear type,
                               including net pen
                               gear. No
                               restrictions exist
                               for other MUS.
Action 6: Aquaculture Siting  Alternative 1 does    Alternative 2 would
 Requirements and Conditions.  not restrict or       establish marine
                               otherwise identify    aquaculture zones,
                               aquaculture           within which NMFS
                               locations.            would permit
                                                     individual sites.
                                                     Separate facilities
                                                     within these zones
                                                     would be spaced at
                                                     distances based on
                                                     facility size and
                                                     oceanographic,
                                                     biological and
                                                     human use
                                                     considerations.
Action 7: Record-keeping and  The NMFS Regional     Alternative 2 would
 Reporting Requirements.       Administrator has     establish
                               authority to          electronic record-
                               specify record-       keeping and
                               keeping and           reporting
                               reporting             requirements that
                               requirements in a     address, at a
                               SCREFP.               minimum,
                                                     escapement,
                                                     entanglements and
                                                     interactions with
                                                     protected species,
                                                     pathogens and
                                                     disease, brood
                                                     stock harvest,
                                                     water quality
                                                     monitoring, and
                                                     aquaculture
                                                     harvest. Applicants
                                                     must conduct a
                                                     baseline assessment
                                                     and monitoring at
                                                     the site.
Action 8: Framework           Under Alternative 1,  Under Alternative 2,
 Procedures.                   specific framework    NMFS would specify
                               procedures for        framework
                               modifying             procedures for
                               aquaculture           modifying
                               management measures   management measures
                               would not be          for offshore marine
                               identified.           aquaculture in the
                                                     PIR EEZ.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 57569]]

    NMFS recognizes that any alternatives considered in the draft PEIS 
will be based on the combined input from the public, research 
institutions, fishermen, non-governmental organizations, and affected 
State and Federal agencies, and Council processes. A principal 
objective of the scoping process is to identify a range of alternatives 
that will delineate critical issues and provide a clear basis for 
distinguishing among those alternatives, and to support the selection 
of a preferred alternative. NMFS is seeking input during scoping 
regarding the eight actions in Table 1 that make up the features of an 
aquaculture management program to assist in developing the reasonable 
range of alternatives to analyze in the draft PEIS.
    In addition, NMFS is seeking input from the public on the issues 
that NMFS should address in the draft PEIS related to an aquaculture 
management program and the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative 
effects of the alternatives on the human environment. After NMFS 
analyzes a set of management alternatives, the Council may recommend a 
preferred proposed Federal action alternative. NMFS would then analyze 
the preferred alternative and a reasonable range of alternatives in a 
draft PEIS.

Public Involvement

    Through this notice, we are notifying the public that NMFS has 
initiated a NEPA analysis and decision-making process for this proposed 
action so that interested or affected people may participate and 
contribute to the development of a final set of alternatives and 
analysis of environmental effects for NMFS and the Council to consider 
for an aquaculture management program. Public involvement will provide 
the information required by NMFS and the Council to identify the 
necessary scope and range of reasonable management alternatives 
including the need for additional alternatives that will provide a 
sound and scientific basis for developing a sustainable and long-term 
aquaculture management program in the PIR.
    NMFS will again ask for additional public comments once NMFS 
publishes the Draft PEIS, probably in late spring 2017. You may find 
more information about the NMFS aquaculture program and the progress of 
the PEIS at http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/SFD/SFD_aq.html.

Meetings

    NMFS will hold the following public scoping meetings. All meetings 
will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

1. Pago Pago, AS, Thursday, September 8, 2016, NOAA Fisheries 
Conference Room, Pago Plaza, Suite 208, Pago Pago, AS 96799.
2. Hilo, HI, Tuesday, September 13, 2016, University of Hawaii at Hilo, 
United Classroom Building (UCB) 111, 200 W. Kawili St., Hilo, HI 96720.
3. Kailua-Kona, HI, Wednesday, September 14, 2016, West Hawaii Civic 
Center, Community Meeting Hale (Bldg. G), 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy., 
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740.
4. Honolulu, HI, Thursday, October 13, 2016, NOAA Fisheries Honolulu 
Service Center at Pier 38, Honolulu Harbor, 1139 N. Nimitz Hwy., Suite 
220, Honolulu, HI 96817.

    NMFS is also planning to hold scoping meetings in the CNMI and Guam 
during October 2016. NMFS will announce the details of these meetings 
in a separate Federal Register notice.

    Dated: August 17, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-20048 Filed 8-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P