Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; Amendment 19, 76516-76530 [2016-25963]

Download as PDF 76516 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES also accept your comments via email at PRA@fcc.gov. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@ fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418–0530 (voice), (202) 418–0432 (TTY). Synopsis As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507), the FCC is notifying the public that it received final OMB approval on October 12, 2016, for the information collection requirements contained in the modifications to the Commission’s rules in 47 CFR part 11. Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060–0207. The foregoing notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507. The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents are as follows: OMB Control Number: 3060–0207. OMB Approval Date: October 12, 2016. OMB Expiration Date: October 31, 2019. Title: Part 11, Emergency Alert System. Form Number: N/A. Respondents: Business and not-forprofit entities. Number of Respondents and Responses: 63,080 respondents; 3,596,546 responses. Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour (EAS Participants); 20 hours (SECCs). Frequency of Response: One-time, and on-occasion reporting requirements. Obligation to Respond: Required if distributing State and local EAS alerts in a given state. The statutory authority for this information collection is contained in sections 1, 2, 4(i), 4(o), 301, 303(r), 303(v), 307, 309, 335, 403, 624(g),706, and 715 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 154(o), 301, 303(r), 303(v), 307, 309, 335, 403, 544(g), 606, and 615. Total Annual Burden: 110,476 hours. Total Annual Cost: None. Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: An assurance of confidentiality is not VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 offered because this information collection does not require the collection of personally identifiable information (PII) from individuals. Privacy Act: No impact(s). Needs and Uses: Section 11.21 of the Commission’s part 11 (EAS) rules, 47 CFR 11.21, requires that State Emergency Communications Committees (SECC) prepare and submit State EAS Plans to the FCC for approval before State and local EAS alerts may be distributed within the state. On March 30, 2016, the Commission released the Order, FCC 16–32, published at 81 FR 27342, May 6, 2016, adopting rule amendments to section 11.21, 47 CFR 11.21—containing information collection requirements—designed to promote and better understand the landscape of multilingual alerting across the country. The rule amendments generally require EAS Participants (the broadcasters, cable systems, and other service providers subject to the EAS rules) to prepare and submit to their respective SECCs, a description of their efforts and activities to make available EAS alert message content to persons who communicate in languages other than English. SECCs are required to prepare a summary of such descriptions they receive and include such summary in the State EAS Plan they administer. Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–26555 Filed 11–2–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 160126052–6974–02] RIN 0648–BF72 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; Amendment 19 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This final rule implements Amendment 19 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan, which the New England Fishery Management Council adopted and submitted to NMFS for approval. Amendment 19 establishes a SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 specifications process outside of the current framework adjustment process and adjusts the start of the scallop fishing year from March 1 to April 1. These changes will help reduce potential economic and biological consequences from late implementation of specifications and reduce the overall administrative burden associated with late implementation. As a result of these changes, NMFS will be able to implement simple specifications actions at the start of the fishing year on a more consistent basis. DATES: Effective December 5, 2016. ADDRESSES: The Council developed an environmental assessment (EA) for this action that describes these measures and other considered alternatives and provides a thorough analysis of the impacts of the measures and alternatives. Copies of the Amendment, the EA, and the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFA), are available upon request from Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950. Copies of the small entity compliance guide are available from John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930–2298, or available on the Internet at http:// www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainable/species/scallop/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Travis Ford, Fishery Policy Analyst, 978–281–9233. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Council adopted Amendment 19 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP) at its December 3, 2015, meeting and submitted the amendment to NMFS on June 16, 2016. NMFS published a notice of availability on July 20, 2016 (81 FR 47152), and a proposed rule, including a reference on how to obtain the amendment and the draft final EA, for approving and implementing Amendment 19 on August 16, 2016 (81 FR 54533). The NOA included a 60-day public comment period that closed on September 19, 2016, and the proposed rule included a 30-day public comment period that closed on September 15, 2016. NMFS reviewed and finalized the amendment document to ensure consistency with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Scallop FMP, and other applicable laws. NMFS approved Amendment 19 in its entirety. E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES In order to incorporate the most recent available scallop survey information, which has proved essential in setting appropriate access area catch levels, the Council has been taking final action in November or December, and NMFS has typically implemented allocations in May or June. Prior to this action, this would result in allocations for a given fishing year in place 2 to 3 months after the March 1 start of the fishing year. To address these timing issues while still supporting the current timeline for integrating the best available science in to the management process, Amendment 19 establishes a specifications process so that allocations do not need to be tied to more complex actions like frameworks or amendments that tend to have longer development, review, and implementation timelines; and adjusts the scallop fishing year to April 1 through March 31. Allowing for Allocations To Be Set Through Specifications Actions Amendment 19 creates a new specifications process for the Scallop FMP. Adding the ability to adjust allocations through a specifications setting process produces some time savings because the Council will not be required to discuss measures over the course of two Council meetings, as is required under a framework. In addition, measures developed in a specifications action will be limited to those related to allocations and possession limits. This means that some of the more complicated management measures typically contained in frameworks will not be included, thus the development and rulemaking for these actions will be simplified. Although developing a specifications action will save some time in the development of allocations, it would not guarantee allocations will be in place by March 1 of each year. It is more likely that allocations could be implemented on April 1, a month after the current start of the fishing year. The Council will not be required to set scallop allocations through a specifications action and could utilize a framework to develop more robust management measures, but more complicated actions and more management measures under consideration generally means the action will take longer to develop, review, and implement. Changing the Start of the Fishing Year to April 1 Because a specifications action would more likely be implemented on April 1, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 Amendment 19 changes the scallop fishing year to April 1 through March 31. Pushing the fishing year back one month will increase the likelihood that NMFS will be able to implement simple specifications actions at the start of the scallop fishing year on a more consistent basis and not need to implement default measures at all. To give the industry time to account for this change in their business planning, this measure will not be effective until fishing year 2018. Because the current fishing year began on March 1, 2016, fishing year 2016 will not be affected by this change. Fishing year 2017 will be 13 months long, running from March 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018. The Council intends to prorate allocations appropriately for 2017 to account for this additional month. On April 1, 2018, the scallop fishing year will officially change for fishing year 2018 and beyond. Amendment 19 also adjusts the scallop permit year so that it continues to match the official fishing year (i.e., scallop permits will need to be renewed by April 1 of each year). This change is also effective beginning in fishing year 2018. Regulatory Corrections Under Regional Administrator Authority NMFS removed the annual specifications from the regulatory text and reorganized the layout of the regulations to help streamline the approval of future specifications actions. As a result, this rule includes revisions to the regulatory text that reorganize and condense references to annual scallop allocations and possession limits. These adjustments do not make any substantive changes to the implications of the current regulations and allow future specifications-setting actions to be implemented sooner by avoiding the need to make extensive regulatory changes for each specifications-setting action. These changes are consistent with section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which provides that the Secretary of Commerce may promulgate regulations necessary to ensure that amendments to an FMP are carried out in accordance with the FMP and the MagnusonStevens Act. To accommodate the specifications process and simplify the scallop regulations, NMFS makes the following changes to regulatory text: Revising the definitions in § 648.2 to remove the unnecessary distinction between Rotational Closed Areas and Scallop Access Areas; consolidating all of the PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 76517 allocations into a single table in § 648.53; condensing the explanations of OFL, ABC, and ACL into § 648.53, which creates a single section dedicated to all of the catch limits (the current regulations have this information repeated again at § 648.55, which NMFS removed); removing §§ 648.57 and 648.58 and integrating them into §§ 648.59 and 648.60 to describe the scallop access area program and remove the unnecessary distinction between Rotational Closed Areas and Scallop Access Areas; and moving access area program requirements currently in § 648.60 to § 648.59 to provide a dedicated section to access area program requirements (§ 648.59) and a dedicated section to listing all of the scallop access areas (§ 648.60). Under this same section 305(d) authority, this action also makes the following revisions to the regulatory text, unrelated to the addition of a specifications process, to address text that is unnecessary, outdated, unclear, or NMFS could otherwise improve: Revising §§ 648.14(i)(2)(vi)(B) and 648.14(i)(3)(v)(E) to clarify in the prohibitions a requirement currently in § 648.58(e) that vessels cannot transit the Closed Area II Rotational Area, the Closed Area II Extension Rotational Area, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area unless there is a compelling safety reason for transiting the area; adding back in text, at § 648.53(c), regarding limited access accountability measures that was unintentionally removed during Framework Adjustment 27 to the Scallop FMP (81 FR 26727, May 4, 2016); updating a reference in § 648.54 regarding the state waters exemption program that was unintentionally overlooked in Framework Adjustment 26 to the Scallop FMP (80 FR 22119, April 21, 2015); revising § 648.56(f) to reflect a change that scallop research set-aside (RSA) can be harvested to accommodate the change in fishing year (changing from May 31 to June 30 of the fishing year subsequent to the fishing year in which the set-aside is awarded); and revising § 648.62(c) to clarify that NGOM vessels must declare either a Federal NGOM trip or a state-waters NGOM trip on their VMS units when declaring a scallop trip. Finally, due to the extensive regulatory changes in this action, NMFS is updating references throughout the scallop regulations that NMFS has changed based on the regulatory adjustments. NMFS has included a summary of all of the regulatory changes in this rule in Table 1. E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 76518 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1—SUMMARY OF REGULATORY CHANGES TO 50 CFR PART 648 Section Current title Title Type of changes Summary of changes 648.2 .......... Definitions ..................... Same ............................. Amendment 19 & Regulatory Streamlining. 648.10 ........ VMS and DAS requirements for vessel owners/operators. Prohibitions ................... Same ............................. Regulatory Streamlining Same ............................. Regulatory Streamlining & Corrections. Changes address the new scallop fishing year and remove the unnecessary distinction between Rotational Closed Areas and Scallop Access Areas. Changes update references that will change based on regulatory adjustments to other sections. Changes update references that will change based on regulatory adjustments to other sections. Clarification that vessels cannot transit the Closed Area II Rotational Area, the Closed Area II Extension Rotational Area, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area. Changes update references that will change based on regulatory adjustments to other sections. Changes update references that will change based on regulatory adjustments to other sections. Changes address Amendment 19 specifications process, condense allocations into a single table, and condense the explanations of OFL, ABC, and ACL in to a single section. The current regulations have this information repeated again at § 648.55. Also, NMFS adds back in text, at § 648.53(c), regarding limited access accountability measures that was unintentionally removed during scallop Framework Adjustment 27. The change to this section updates an old reference that should have occurred during scallop Framework Adjustment 26 rulemaking but was inadvertently overlooked. Changes to this section address Amendment 19 changes, but also fine-tune previous regulations and remove repetitive regulations that are now consolidated into § 648.53, specifically the explanation of OFL, ABC, and ACL. Changes update references that will change based on other regulatory adjustments and support the Amendment 19 alternative to change the fishing year to April 1. Changes would push back the 90-day RSA carryover timeframe by a month (from May 31 to June 30) to accommodate the change in fishing year. Changes remove unnecessary distinction between rotational closed areas and scallop access areas, clarifying that rotational areas can be open or closed as determined through the specifications or framework process. Consolidates the regulations formerly in this section in to § 648.59. Changes remove unnecessary distinction between rotational closed areas and scallop access areas clarifying that rotational areas can be open or closed, as determined through the specifications or framework process. Consolidating the regulations formerly in this section in to §§ 648.59 and 648.60. There are no substantial changes to current regulatory text in this section; portions of this section are reorganized to incorporate regulations formerly in §§ 648.57 and 648.58. Also, the access area program requirements were moved to this section from § 648.60 for clarity. 648.14 ........ Gear and crew restrictions. Same ............................. Regulatory Streamlining 648.52 ........ Possession and landing limits. Same ............................. Regulatory Streamlining 648.53 ........ Acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, annual catch targets, DAS allocations, and individual fishing quotas. Overfishing limit, acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, annual catch targets, DAS allocations, and individual fishing quotas. Amendment 19, Regulatory Streamlining, & Corrections. 648.54 ........ State waters exemption Same ............................. Corrections .................... 648.55 ........ Framework adjustments to management measures. Specifications and framework adjustments to management measures. Amendment 19 & Regulatory Streamlining. 648.56 ........ Scallop research ........... Same ............................. Amendment 19 & Regulatory Streamlining. 648.57 ........ Sea scallop area rotation program. Reserved ....................... Amendment 19 & Regulatory Streamlining. 648.58 ........ Rotational Closed Areas Reserved ....................... Amendment 19 & Regulatory Streamlining. 648.59 ........ mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES 648.51 ........ Sea Scallop Access Areas. Sea scallop rotational area management program and access area program requirements. Amendment 19 & Regulatory Streamlining. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations 76519 TABLE 1—SUMMARY OF REGULATORY CHANGES TO 50 CFR PART 648—Continued Section Current title Title Type of changes Summary of changes There are no substantial changes to current regulatory text in this section; portions of this section are reorganized to incorporate regulations formerly in § 648.58. Also, the access area program requirements were moved from this section to§ 648.59 for clarity. Changes to this section support the specifications process and update references that will change based on other regulatory adjustments. Also, changes clarify that NGOM vessels must declare either a Federal NGOM trip or a state-waters NGOM trip. Changes update references that will change based on regulatory adjustments to other sections. Changes to this section are to support the Amendment 19 alternative to change the fishing year to April 1. Changes to this section are to support the Amendment 19 alternative to change the fishing year to April 1. 648.60 ........ Sea scallop access area Sea scallop rotational program requirements. areas. Amendment 19 & Regulatory Streamlining. 648.62 ........ Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Management Program. Same ............................. Amendment 19, Regulatory Streamlining, & Corrections. 648.63 ........ General category Sectors and harvesting cooperatives. Yellowtail flounder subACLs and AMs for the scallop fishery. Windowpane flounder sub-ACL and AM for the scallop fishery. Same ............................. Regulatory Streamlining Same ............................. Amendment 19 ............. Same ............................. Amendment 19 ............. 648.64 ........ 648.65 ........ Comments and Responses NMFS received one comment letter in response to the proposed rule, from Lund’s Fisheries, Inc. NMFS may only approve, disapprove, or partially approve measures in Amendment 19, and cannot substantively amend, add, or delete measures beyond what is necessary under section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to discharge its responsibility to carry out such measures. Comment: Lund’s Fisheries, Inc., commented in support of Amendment 19 because it eliminates uncertainties with harvesters, processors and their customers created by the late implementation of the scallop specifications. Response: NMFS appreciates Lund’s Fisheries, Inc., support of this action. There were no changes from the proposed rule. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is consistent with the FMPs, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this final rule is not significant according to Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. This final rule does not contain policies with federalism or ‘‘takings’’ implications, as those terms are defined 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Changes From Proposed Rule to Final Rule VerDate Sep<11>2014 in E.O. 13132 and E.O. 12630, respectively. This action does not contain any collection-of-information requirements subject the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration at the proposed rule stage that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. Dated: October 20, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. Amend § 648.2 by: a. Revising the definitions of ‘‘Fishing year,’’ ‘‘Open areas,’’ and ‘‘Permit year’’; ■ ■ PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 b. Removing the definitions of ‘‘Rotational Closed Area’’ and ‘‘Sea Scallop Access Area’’; ■ c. Adding the definitions for ‘‘Sea Scallop Access Area, Scallop Access Area, or Access Area’’ and ‘‘Sea Scallop Rotational Area, Scallop Rotational Area, or Rotational Area’’ in alphabetical order. The revisions and additions read as follows: ■ § 648.2 Definitions. * * * * * Fishing year means: (1) For the Atlantic deep-sea red crab fishery, from March 1 through the last day of February of the following year. (2) Beginning in 2018, for the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, from April 1 through March 31 of the following year (for 2017, the Atlantic sea scallop fishing year will be from March 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018). (3) For the NE multispecies, monkfish and skate fisheries, from May 1 through April 30 of the following year. (4) For the tilefish fishery, from November 1 through October 31 of the following year. (5) For all other fisheries in this part, from January 1 through December 31. * * * * * Open areas, with respect to the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, means any area that is not subject to restrictions of the Sea Scallop Rotational Areas specified in §§ 648.59 and 648.60, EFH Closed Areas specified in § 648.61, or the Northern Gulf of Maine Management Area specified in § 648.62. * * * * * Permit year means: E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 76520 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations (1) For the Atlantic deep-sea red crab fishery, from March 1 through the last day of February of the following year; (2) Beginning in 2018, for the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, from April 1 through the last day of March of the following year (for 2017, the Atlantic sea scallop permit year will be from March 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018); (3) For all other fisheries in this part, from May 1 through April 30 of the following year. * * * * * Sea Scallop Access Area, Scallop Access Area, or Access Area, with respect to the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, means an area that has been designated under the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan as a sea scallop rotational area that is open to the scallop fishery in a given fishing year. * * * * * Sea Scallop Rotational Area, Scallop Rotational Area, or Rotational Area, with respect to the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, means an area that has been designated under the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan as part of the Sea Scallop Rotational Management Program. A rotational area may be closed or open to the scallop fishery in a given fishing year. A rotational area open to the scallop fishery is termed a Sea Scallop Access Area and has area-specific management measures that are designed to control fishing effort and mortality on only the portion of the scallop resource within the area. Such measures are not applicable as defined in § 648.2 in the definition to Open Areas. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 648.10, revise paragraph (b)(2), the first sentence in paragraph (f)(4)(i) introductory text, paragraph (h) introductory text, and paragraph (h)(8)(ii) to read as follows: § 648.10 VMS and DAS requirements for vessel owners/operators. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES * * * * * (b) * * * (2) A scallop vessel issued an Occasional limited access permit when fishing under the Sea Scallop Area Access Program specified under § 648.59; * * * * * (f) * * * (4) * * * (i) The owner or operator of a limited access or LAGC IFQ vessel that fishes for, possesses, or retains scallops, and is not fishing under a NE Multispecies DAS or sector allocation, must submit reports through the VMS, in accordance with instructions to be provided by the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 Regional Administrator, for each day fished, including open area trips, access area trips as described in § 648.59(b)(9), and trips accompanied by a NMFSapproved observer. * * * * * * * * (h) Call-in notification. The owner of a vessel issued a limited access monkfish permit who is participating in a DAS program and who is not required to provide notification using a VMS, and a scallop vessel qualifying for a DAS allocation under the occasional category that has not elected to fish under the VMS notification requirements of paragraph (e) of this section and is not participating in the Sea Scallop Area Access program as specified in § 648.59, and any vessel that may be required by the Regional Administrator to use the call-in program under paragraph (i) of this section, are subject to the following requirements: * * * * * (8) * * * (ii) A vessel issued a limited access scallop and LAGC IFQ scallop permit that possesses or lands more than 600 lb (272.2 kg) of scallops, unless otherwise specified in § 648.59(d)(2); * * * * * ■ 4. Amend § 648.14 by: ■ a. Revising paragraphs (i)(1)(vi), (i)(2)(ii)(B)(7), (i)(2)(iii)(B), (i)(2)(iii)(C), (i)(2)(iv)(B), paragraph (i)(2)(vi) introductory text, and paragraph (i)(2)(vi)(A); ■ b. Adding paragraph (i)(2)(vi)(B); ■ c. Revising paragraphs (i)(2)(vi)(D), (i)(3)(iv)(A), (i)(3)(v); and ■ d. Revising paragraph (i)(4)(i)(A). The additions and revisions read as follows: § 648.14 Prohibitions. * * * * * (i) * * * (1) * * * (vi) Closed area requirements—(A) EFH Closed Areas. (1) Fish for scallops in, or possess or land scallops from, the EFH Closed Areas specified in § 648.61. (2) Transit or enter the EFH Closure Areas specified in § 648.61, except as provided by § 648.61(b). (B) Scallop Rotational Areas. (1) Fish for scallops in, or possess or land scallops from, the Scallop Rotational Areas closed to the scallop fishery through the specifications or framework adjustment processes specified in § 648.55. (2) Transit or enter the Scallop Rotational Areas, except as provided by § 648.59(a) or (b). * * * * * (2) * * * (ii) * * * PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (B) * * * (7) Fish in a Sea Scallop Access Area, as described in § 648.60, with more persons on board the vessel than the number specified in § 648.51(c) or § 648.51(e)(3)(i), unless otherwise authorized by the Regional Administrator. * * * * * (iii) * * * (B) Fish for, possess, or land more than 50 bu (17.62 hL) of in-shell scallops once inside the VMS Demarcation Line on or by a vessel that, at any time during the trip, fished in or transited any area south of 42°20′ N. lat; or fished in any Sea Scallop Area Access Program specified in § 648.59, except as provided in the state waters exemption, as specified in § 648.54. (C) Fish for, possess, or land per trip, at any time, scallops in excess of any sea scallop possession and landing limit set by the Regional Administrator in accordance with § 648.59(b)(3) when properly declared into the Sea Scallop Area Access Program as described in § 648.59. * * * * * (iv) * * * (B) Combine, transfer, or consolidate DAS allocations, except as allowed for one-for-one Access Area trip exchanges as specified in § 648.59(b)(3)(ii). * * * * * (vi) Scallop rotational area management program and scallop access area program requirements. (A) Fail to comply with any of the provisions and specifications of § 648.59. (B) Transit the Closed Area II Rotational Area or the Closed Area II Extension Rotational Area, as defined § 648.60(d) and (e), respectively, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area, as defined in § 648.60(b), unless there is a compelling safety reason for transiting the area and the vessel’s fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2. * * * * * (D) Possess more than 50 bu (17.6 hL) of in-shell scallops outside the boundaries of a Sea Scallop Access Area by a vessel that is declared into the Area Access Program as specified in § 648.59. * * * * * (3) * * * (iv) * * * (A) Fail to comply with any of the VMS requirements specified in §§ 648.10, 648.59, or 648.62. * * * * * (v) Scallop rotational area management program and scallop access area program requirements. (A) E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations Fail to comply with any of the requirements specified in § 648.59. (B) Declare into or leave port for an area specified in § 648.60 after the effective date of a notification published in the Federal Register stating that the number of LAGC trips have been taken, as specified in § 648.59. (C) Fish for or land per trip, or possess in excess of 40 lb (18.1 kg) of shucked scallops at any time in or from any Sea Scallop Access Area specified at § 648.60, unless declared into the Sea Scallop Access Area Program. (D) Fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from any Sea Scallop Access Area without an observer on board, unless the vessel owner, operator, or manager has received a waiver to carry an observer for the specified trip and area fished. (E) Transit the Closed Area II Rotational Area or the Closed Area II Extension Rotational Area, as defined § 648.60(d) and (e), respectively, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area, as defined in § 648.60(b), unless there is a compelling safety reason for transiting the area and the vessel’s fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2. * * * * * (4) * * * (i) * * * (A) Fish for or land per trip, or possess at any time, in excess of 600 lb (272.2 kg) of shucked, or 75 bu (26.4 hL) of in-shell scallops per trip, or 100 bu (35.2 hL) in-shell scallops seaward of the VMS Demarcation Line, unless the vessel is carrying an observer as specified in § 648.11 and an increase in the possession limit is authorized by the Regional Administrator and not exceeded by the vessel, as specified in §§ 648.52(g) and 648.59(d). * * * * * ■ 5. In § 648.51, revise paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(3)(i), paragraph (c) introductory text, and paragraph (f)(1) to read as follows: § 648.51 Gear and crew restrictions. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES * * * * * (b) * * * (1) Maximum dredge width. The combined dredge width in use by or in possession on board such vessels shall not exceed 31 ft (9.4 m), measured at the widest point in the bail of the dredge, except as provided under paragraph (e) of this section, in § 648.59(g)(2), and the scallop dredge exemption areas specified in § 648.80. However, component parts may be on board the vessel such that they do not conform with the definition of ‘‘dredge or dredge gear’’ in § 648.2, i.e., the metal ring bag and the mouth frame, or bail, of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 dredge are not attached, and such that no more than one complete spare dredge could be made from these component’s parts. * * * * * (3) * * * (i) Unless otherwise required under the Sea Scallop Area Access program specified in § 648.59(b)(6), the ring size used in a scallop dredge possessed or used by scallop vessels shall not be smaller than 4 inches (10.2 cm). * * * * * (c) Crew restrictions. A limited access vessel participating in or subject to the scallop DAS allocation program may have no more than seven people aboard, including the operator, and a limited access vessel participating in the Sea Scallop Area Access Program as specified in § 648.59 may have no more than eight people aboard, including the operator, when not docked or moored in port, except as follows: * * * * * (f) * * * (1) A vessel issued a limited access scallop permit fishing for scallops under the scallop DAS allocation program may not fish with, possess on board, or land scallops while in possession of a trawl net, unless such vessel has been issued a limited access trawl vessel permit that endorses the vessel to fish for scallops with a trawl net. A limited access scallop vessel issued a trawl vessel permit that endorses the vessel to fish for scallops with a trawl net and general category scallop vessels enrolled in the Area Access Program as specified in § 648.59, may not fish for scallops with a trawl net in the Closed Area 1, Closed Area II, Closed Area II Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Rotational Areas specified in § 648.60. * * * * * ■ 6. In § 648.52, revise paragraphs (d), (f), and (g) to read as follows: § 648.52 Possession and landing limits. * * * * * (d) Owners or operators of vessels with a limited access scallop permit that have properly declared into the Sea Scallop Area Access Program as described in § 648.59 are prohibited from fishing for or landing per trip, or possessing at any time, scallops in excess of any sea scallop possession and landing limit set by the Regional Administrator in accordance with § 648.59(b)(5). * * * * * (f) A limited access vessel or an LAGC vessel that is declared into the Sea Scallop Area Access Program as described in § 648.59, may not possess more than 50 bu (17.6 hL) or 75 bu (26.4 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 76521 hL), respectively, of in-shell scallops outside of the Access Areas described in § 648.60. (g) Possession limit to defray the cost of observers for LAGC IFQ vessels. An LAGC IFQ vessel with an observer on board may retain, per observed trip, up to 1 day’s allowance of the possession limit allocated to limited access vessels, as established by the Regional Administrator in accordance with § 648.59(d), provided the observer setaside specified in § 648.59(d)(1) has not been fully utilized. For example, if the limited access vessel daily possession limit to defray the cost of an observer is 180 lb (82 kg), the LAGC IFQ possession limit to defray the cost of an observer would be 180 lb (82 kg) per trip, regardless of trip length. ■ 7. In § 648.53, revise the section heading and paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (g)(1), (h)(2) introductory text, and paragraphs (h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(v)(B), (h)(3)(i), (h)(3)(ii)(A), (h)(5)(i), and (h)(5)(ii)(A) to read as follows: § 648.53 Overfishing limit (OFL), acceptable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limits (ACL), annual catch targets (ACT), DAS allocations, and individual fishing quotas (IFQ). (a) The following determinations and allocations for the sea scallop rotational areas are defined as follows and shall be established through the specifications or framework adjustment process: (1) OFL. OFL shall be based on an updated scallop resource and fishery assessment provided by either the Scallop PDT or a formal stock assessment. OFL shall include all sources of scallop mortality and shall include an upward adjustment to account for catch of scallops in state waters by vessels not issued Federal scallop permits. The fishing mortality rate (i.e. F) associated with OFL shall be the threshold F, above which overfishing is occurring in the scallop fishery. The F associated with OFL shall be used to derive specifications for ABC, ACL, and ACT, as defined in paragraph (a) of this section. (2) The specification of ABC, ACL, and ACT shall be based upon the following overfishing definition: The F shall be set so that in access areas, averaged for all years combined over the period of time that the area is closed and open to scallop fishing as an access area, it does not exceed the established F threshold for the scallop fishery; in open areas it shall not exceed the F threshold for the scallop fishery; and for access and open areas combined, it is set at a level that has a 75-percent probability of remaining below the F associated with ABC, as defined in E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 76522 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations paragraph (a)(3) of this section, taking into account all sources of fishing mortality in the limited access and LAGC fleets of the scallop fishery. (3) Overall ABC/ACL. The overall ABC for sea scallop fishery shall be the catch level that has an associated F that has a 75-percent probability of remaining below the F associated with OFL. The overall ACL shall be equal to the ABC for the scallop fishery, minus discards (an estimate of both incidental and discard mortality). The ABC/ACL, after the discards and deductions specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section are removed, shall be divided as sub-ACLs between limited access vessels, limited access vessels that are fishing under a LAGC permit, and LAGC vessels as defined in paragraphs (a)(5) and (6) of this section, after the deductions outlined in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. (4) Deductions from ABC/ACL. Incidental catch, as defined in paragraph (a)(7) of this section, shall be removed from ABC/ACL. One percent of ABC/ACL shall be removed from ABC/ ACL for observer set-aside. Scallop catch equal to the value specified in § 648.56(d) shall be removed from ABC/ ACL for research set-aside. These deductions for incidental catch, observer set-aside, and research set- aside, shall be made prior to establishing sub-ACLs for the limited access and LAGC fleets, as specified in paragraphs (a)(5) and (6) of this section. (5) Limited access fleet sub-ACL and sub-ACT—(i) Limited access fleet subACL. After applying the deductions as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, the limited access scallop fleet shall be allocated a sub-ACL equal to 94.5 percent of the ABC/ACL. (ii) Limited access fleet sub-ACT. The ACT for the limited access fishery shall be set at a level that has an associated F with a 75-percent probability of remaining below the F associated with ABC/ACL. (6) LAGC IFQ fleet sub-ACL and subACT—(i) LAGC IFQ fleet sub-ACL. After applying the deductions as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, the LAGC IFQ fleet shall be allocated a subACL equal to 5.5 percent of the ABC/ ACL, so that 5 percent of ABC/ACL is allocated to the LAGC fleet of vessels that do not also have a limited access scallop permit, and 0.5 percent of the ABC/ACL is allocated to the LAGC fleet of vessels that have limited access scallop permits. This specification of sub-ACLs shall not account for catch reductions associated with the application of AMs or adjustment of the sub-ACL as a result of the limited access AM exception as specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section. (ii) LAGC IFQ fleet sub-ACT. The LAGC IFQ fishery sub-ACT shall be equal to the LAGC IFQ fishery’s subACL. The sub-ACT for the LAGC IFQ fishery for vessels issued only a LAGC IFQ scallop permit shall be equal to 5 percent of the ABC/ACL specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, after applying the deductions as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. The subACT for the LAGC IFQ fishery for vessels issued both a LAGC IFQ scallop permit and a limited access scallop permit shall be 0.5 percent of the ACL specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, after applying the deductions as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. (7) Scallop incidental catch target TAC. The annual incidental catch target TAC is the catch available for harvest for vessels with incidental catch scallop permits. This incidental catch target will be removed from the ABC/ACL defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section prior to establishing the limited access and LAGC IFQ sub-ACLs and sub-ACTs defined in paragraphs (a)(5) and (6) of this section. (8) The following catch limits will be effective for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years: SCALLOP FISHERY CATCH LIMITS 2016 (mt) Catch limits Overfishing Limit ...................................................................................................................................................... Acceptable Biological Catch/ACL (discards removed) ............................................................................................ Incidental Catch ....................................................................................................................................................... Research Set-Aside (RSA) ...................................................................................................................................... Observer Set-Aside ................................................................................................................................................. ACL for fishery ......................................................................................................................................................... Limited Access ACL ................................................................................................................................................ LAGC ACL ............................................................................................................................................................... LAGC IFQ ................................................................................................................................................................ Limited Access with LAGC IFQ ............................................................................................................................... Limited Access ACT ................................................................................................................................................ 68,418 37,852 23 567 379 36,884 34,855 2,029 1,845 184 18,290 2017 (mt) * 68,418 37,852 23 567 379 36,884 34,855 2,029 1,845 184 18,290 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES * The catch limits for the 2017 fishing year are subject to change through a future specifications action or framework adjustment. (b) DAS specifications and allocations. DAS specifications and allocations for limited access scallop trips in open areas are defined as follows and shall be specified through the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55, as follows: (1) DAS allocations. DAS allocations shall be determined by distributing the portion of the limited access ACT defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, as reduced by access area allocations defined in § 648.59, and dividing that amount among vessels in VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 the form of DAS calculated by applying estimates of open area landings per unit effort (LPUE) projected through the specifications or framework adjustment processes used to set annual allocations. (2) Assignment to DAS categories—(i) Limited access vessels shall be categorized as full-time, part-time, or occasional. Allocations for part-time and occasional scallop vessels shall be 40 percent and 8.33 percent of the fulltime DAS allocations, respectively. (ii) Subject to the vessel permit application requirements specified in § 648.4, for each fishing year, each vessel issued a limited access scallop PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 permit shall be assigned to the DAS category (full-time, part-time, or occasional) it was assigned to in the preceding year, except as provided under the small dredge program specified in § 648.51(e). (3) The DAS allocations for limited access scallop vessels for fishing years 2016 and 2017 are as follows: E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations SCALLOP OPEN AREA DAS ALLOCATIONS Permit category 2016 Full-Time ................... Part-Time .................. Occasional ................ 2017 * 34.55 13.82 2.88 34.55 13.82 2.88 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES * The DAS allocations for the 2017 fishing year are subject to change through a future specifications action or framework adjustment. (c) Accountability measures (AM) for limited access vessels. Unless the limited access AM exception is implemented in accordance with the provision specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, if the limited access subACL defined in paragraph (a)(5) of this section is exceeded for the applicable fishing year, the DAS for each limited access vessel shall be reduced by an amount equal to the amount of landings in excess of the sub-ACL divided by the applicable LPUE for the fishing year in which the AM will apply as projected by the specifications or framework adjustment process specified in § 648.55, then divided by the number of scallop vessels eligible to be issued a full-time limited access scallop permit. For example, assuming a 300,000-lb (136-mt) overage of the limited access fishery’s sub-ACL in 2011, an open area LPUE of 2,500 lb (1.13 mt) per DAS in 2012, and 313 full-time vessels, each full-time vessel’s DAS for 2012 would be reduced by 0.38 DAS (300,000 lb (136 mt)/2,500 lb (1.13 mt) per DAS = 120 lb (0.05 mt) per DAS/313 vessels = 0.38 DAS per vessel). Deductions in DAS for part-time and occasional scallop vessels shall be 40 percent and 8.33 percent of the full-time DAS deduction, respectively, as calculated pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The AM shall take effect in the fishing year following the fishing year in which the overage occurred. For example, landings in excess of the limited access fishery’s sub-ACL in fishing year 2011 would result in the DAS reduction AM in fishing year 2012. If the AM takes effect, and a limited access vessel uses more open area DAS in the fishing year in which the AM is applied, the vessel shall have the DAS used in excess of the allocation after applying the AM deducted from its open area DAS allocation in the subsequent fishing year. For example, a vessel initially allocated 32 DAS in 2011 uses all 32 DAS prior to application of the AM. If, after application of the AM, the vessel’s DAS allocation is reduced to 31 DAS, the vessel’s DAS in 2012 would be reduced by 1 DAS. (1) Limited access AM exception. If NMFS determines that the fishing VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 mortality rate associated with the limited access fleet’s landings in a fishing year is less than 0.34, the AM specified in paragraph (c) of this section shall not take effect. The fishing mortality rate of 0.34 is the fishing mortality rate that is one standard deviation below the fishing mortality rate for the scallop fishery ACL, currently estimated at 0.38. (2) Limited access fleet AM and exception provision timing. The Regional Administrator shall determine whether the limited access fleet exceeded its sub-ACL defined in paragraph (a)(5) of this section by July of the fishing year following the year for which landings are being evaluated. On or about July 1, the Regional Administrator shall notify the New England Fishery Management Council of the determination of whether or not the sub-ACL for the limited access fleet was exceeded, and the amount of landings in excess of the sub-ACL. Upon this notification, the Scallop Plan Development Team (PDT) shall evaluate the overage and determine if the fishing mortality rate associated with total landings by the limited access scallop fleet is less than 0.34. On or about September 1 of each year, the Scallop PDT shall notify the Council of its determination, and the Council, on or about September 30, shall make a recommendation, based on the Scallop PDT findings, concerning whether to invoke the limited access AM exception. If NMFS concurs with the Scallop PDT’s recommendation to invoke the limited access AM exception, in accordance with the APA, the limited access AM shall not be implemented. If NMFS does not concur, in accordance with the APA, the limited access AM shall be implemented as soon as possible after September 30 each year. (d) End-of-year carry-over for open area DAS. With the exception of vessels that held a Confirmation of Permit History as described in § 648.4(a)(2)(i)(J) for the entire fishing year preceding the carry-over year, limited access vessels that have unused open area DAS on the last day of February of any year may carry over a maximum of 10 DAS, not to exceed the total open area DAS allocation by permit category, into the next year. DAS carried over into the next fishing year may only be used in open areas. Carry-over DAS are accounted for in setting the sub-ACT for the limited access fleet, as defined in paragraph (a)(5)(ii) of this section. Therefore, if carry-over DAS result or contribute to an overage of the ACL, the limited access fleet AM specified in paragraph (c) of this section would still apply, provided the AM exception PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 76523 specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section is not invoked. (e) Accrual of DAS. All DAS fished shall be charged to the nearest minute. A vessel carrying an observer and authorized to be charged fewer DAS in Open Areas based on the total available DAS set aside under paragraph (g) of this section shall be charged at a reduced rate as specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this section. * * * * * (g) * * * (1) To help defray the cost of carrying an observer, 1 percent of the ABC/ACL defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section shall be set aside to be used by vessels that are assigned to take an atsea observer on a trip. This observer setaside is specified through the specifications or framework adjustment process defined in § 648.55. * * * * * (h) * * * (2) Calculation of IFQ. The ACL allocated to IFQ scallop vessels, and the ACL allocated to limited access scallop vessels issued IFQ scallop permits, as defined in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, shall be used to determine the IFQ of each vessel issued an IFQ scallop permit. Each fishing year, the Regional Administrator shall provide the owner of a vessel issued an IFQ scallop permit issued pursuant to § 648.4(a)(2)(ii) with the scallop IFQ for the vessel for the upcoming fishing year. (i) Individual fishing quota. The IFQ for an IFQ scallop vessel shall be the vessel’s contribution percentage as specified in paragraph (h)(2)(iii) of this section and determined using the steps specified in paragraphs (h)(2)(ii) of this section, multiplied by the ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop fishery, or limited access vessels issued an IFQ scallop permit, as defined in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. * * * * * (v) * * * (B) For accounting purposes, the combined total of all vessels’ IFQ carryover shall be added to the LAGC IFQ fleet’s applicable sub-ACL for the carryover year. Any IFQ carried over that is landed in the carry-over fishing year shall be counted against the sub-ACL defined in paragraph (a)(6) of this section, as increased by the total carryover for all LAGC IFQ vessels, as specified in this paragraph (h)(2)(v)(B). IFQ carry-over shall not be applicable to the calculation of the IFQ cap specified in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section and the ownership cap specified in paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section. * * * * * (3) * * * E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES 76524 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations (i) IFQ scallop vessel IFQ cap. (A) Unless otherwise specified in paragraphs (h)(3)(i)(B) and (C) of this section, a vessel issued an IFQ scallop permit or confirmation of permit history shall not be issued more than 2.5 percent of the sub-ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section. (B) A vessel may be initially issued more than 2.5 percent of the sub-ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section, if the initial determination of its contribution factor specified in accordance with § 648.4(a)(2)(ii)(E) and paragraph (h)(2)(ii) of this section, results in an IFQ that exceeds 2.5 percent of the sub-ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section. A vessel that is allocated an IFQ that exceeds 2.5 percent of the sub-ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section, in accordance with this paragraph (h)(3)(i)(B), may not receive IFQ through an IFQ transfer, as specified in paragraph (h)(5) of this section. All scallops that have been allocated as part of the original IFQ allocation or transferred to a vessel during a given fishing year shall be counted towards the vessel cap. (C) A vessel initially issued a 2008 IFQ scallop permit or confirmation of permit history, or that was issued or renewed a limited access scallop permit or confirmation of permit history for a vessel in 2009 and thereafter, in compliance with the ownership restrictions in paragraph (h)(3)(i)(A) of this section, is eligible to renew such permit(s) and/or confirmation(s) of permit history, regardless of whether the renewal of the permit or confirmations of permit history will result in the 2.5percent IFQ cap restriction being exceeded. (ii) * * * (A) For any vessel acquired after June 1, 2008, a vessel owner is not eligible to be issued an IFQ scallop permit for the vessel, and/or a confirmation of permit history, and is not eligible to transfer IFQ to the vessel, if, as a result of the issuance of the permit and/or confirmation of permit history, or IFQ transfer, the vessel owner, or any other person who is a shareholder or partner of the vessel owner, will have an ownership interest in more than 5 percent of the sub-ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section. * * * * * (5) * * * (i) Temporary IFQ transfers. Subject to the restrictions in paragraph (h)(5)(iii) VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 of this section, the owner of an IFQ scallop vessel (and/or IFQ scallop permit in confirmation of permit history) not issued a limited access scallop permit may temporarily transfer (e.g., lease) its entire IFQ allocation, or a portion of its IFQ allocation, to another IFQ scallop vessel. Temporary IFQ transfers shall be effective only for the fishing year in which the temporary transfer is requested and processed. IFQ, once temporarily transferred, cannot be temporarily transferred again to another vessel. IFQ can be temporarily transferred more than once (i.e., retransferred). For example, if a vessel temporarily transfers IFQ to a vessel, the transferee vessel may re-transfer any portion of that IFQ to another vessel. There is no limit on how many times IFQ can be re-transferred in a fishing year. The Regional Administrator has final approval authority for all temporary IFQ transfer requests. (ii) * * * (A) Subject to the restrictions in paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section, the owner of an IFQ scallop vessel (and/or IFQ scallop permit in confirmation of permit history) not issued a limited access scallop permit may transfer IFQ permanently to or from another IFQ scallop vessel. Any such transfer cannot be limited in duration and is permanent as to the transferee, unless the IFQ is subsequently permanently transferred to another IFQ scallop vessel. IFQ may be permanently transferred to a vessel and then be re-transferred (temporarily transferred (i.e., leased) or permanently transferred) by such vessel to another vessel in the same fishing year. There is no limit on how many times IFQ can be re-transferred in a fishing year. * * * * * ■ 8. In § 648.54, revise paragraph (e) to read as follows: § 648.54 State waters exemption. * * * * * (e) Notification requirements. Vessels fishing under the exemptions specified in paragraph (b), (c) and/or (d) of this section must notify the Regional Administrator in accordance with the provisions of § 648.10(f). * * * * * ■ 9. Amend § 648.55 by: ■ a. Revising the section heading and paragraph (a); ■ b. Removing and reserving paragraph (b); ■ c. Revising paragraph (c); ■ d. Removing and reserving paragraph (e); and ■ e. Revising paragraph (f) introductory text and paragraph (f)(38). The revisions read as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 § 648.55 Specifications and framework adjustments to management measures. (a) Specifications. (1) The Scallop Plan Development Team (PDT) shall meet at least every two years to assess the status of the scallop resource and to develop and recommend the following specifications for a period of up to 2 years, as well as second or third-year default measures, for consideration by the New England Fishery Management Council’s Atlantic Sea Scallop Oversight Committee and Advisory Panel: OFL, overall ABC/ACL, sub-ACLs, sub-ACTs, DAS open area allocations, possession limits, modifications to rotational area management (e.g., schedule, rotational closures and openings, seasonal restrictions, modifications to boundaries, etc.), access area limited access poundage allocations and LAGC IFQ fleet-wide trip allocations, annual incidental catch target TAC, and NGOM TAC. (2) Based on the PDT recommendations and any public comments received, the Atlantic Sea Scallop Oversight Committee shall recommend appropriate specifications to the New England Fishery Management Council. (3) The Council shall review these recommendations and, after considering public comments, shall recommend appropriate specifications for up to 2 years, as well as second or third-year default measures, to NMFS. NMFS shall approve, disapprove, or partially approve the specifications recommended by the Council and publish the approved specifications in the Federal Register in accordance with the APA. (4) The PDT shall prepare a Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report at least every two years that provides the information and analysis needed to evaluate potential management adjustments. The preparation of the SAFE Report shall begin on or about June 1 of the year preceding the fishing year in which measures will be adjusted. (5) The PDT will meet at least once during the interim years to review the status of the stock relative to the overfishing definition if information is available to do so. If the Council determines, based on information provided by the PDT or other stockrelated information, that the approved specifications should be adjusted during the 2-year time period, it can do so through the same process outlined in paragraphs (a)(2) through (a)(4) of this section during the interim year. (6) Rotational area management guidelines. The Council’s development of rotational area management E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations adjustments shall take into account at least the following factors: General rotation policy; boundaries and distribution of rotational closures; number of closures; minimum closure size; maximum closure extent; enforceability of rotational closed and re-opened areas; monitoring through resource surveys; and re-opening criteria. Rotational closures should be considered where projected annual change in scallop biomass is greater than 30 percent. Areas should be considered for Sea Scallop Rotational Areas where the projected annual change in scallop biomass is less than 15 percent. (7) Second and Third-year default specifications. The specifications action shall include default specifications that shall be effective in the second year after 1-year specifications and the third year after the 2-year specifications expire until replaced by the measures included in the next specifications action. If the specifications action is not published in the Federal Register with an effective date on or before April 1, the following year’s default specifications shall be effective beginning April 1 of each fishing year until any new specifications action is implemented and made effective during the second or third year, or for the entire fishing year if the specifications action is not completed or is not implemented by NMFS during the following year. The specifications action shall specify the measures necessary to address inconsistencies between specifications and default allocations for the period after April 1 but before the specifications action is implemented for that year. The default specifications, if implemented, shall remain in effect until they are revised through a subsequent specifications action. (b) [Reserved] (c) OFL, overall ABC/ACL, sub-ACLs, and sub-ACTs. The Council shall specify OFL, ABC, ACL, and ACT, as defined in § 648.53, for each year covered under the specifications. * * * * * (e) Reserved] (f) Framework adjustments. The Council may at any time initiate a framework adjustment to add or adjust management measures within the Scallop FMP if it finds that action is necessary to meet or be consistent with the goals and objectives of the FMP. The Council shall develop and analyze appropriate management actions over the span of at least two Council meetings. To address interactions between the scallop fishery and sea turtles and other protected species, such VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 adjustments may include proactive measures including, but not limited to, the timing of Sea Scallop Access Area openings, seasonal closures, gear modifications, increased observer coverage, and additional research. The Council shall provide the public with advance notice of the availability of both the proposals and the analyses, and opportunity to comment on them prior to and at the second Council meeting. The Council’s recommendation on adjustments or additions to management measures may include specifications measures specified in paragraph (a) of this section, which must satisfy the criteria set forth § 648.53(a) in order to prevent overfishing of the available biomass of scallops and ensure that OY is achieved on a continuing basis. Other measures that may be changed or implemented through framework action include: * * * * * (38) Adjustments to aspects of ACL management, including accountability measures; * * * * * ■ 10. In § 648.56, revise paragraphs (a), (d), (f), and (g) to read as follows: § 648.56 Scallop research. (a) At least biennially, in association with the biennial framework process, the Council and NMFS shall prepare and issue an announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) that identifies research priorities for projects to be conducted by vessels using research set-aside as specified in paragraph (d) of this section and § 648.59(e), provides requirements and instructions for applying for funding of a proposed RSA project, and specifies the date by which applications must be received. The FFO shall be published as soon as possible by NMFS and shall provide the opportunity for applicants to apply for projects to be awarded for 1 or 2 years by allowing applicants to apply for RSA funding for the first year, second year, or both. * * * * * (d) Available RSA allocation shall be 1.25 million lb (567 mt) annually, which shall be deducted from the ABC/ACL specified in § 648.53(a) prior to setting ACLs for the limited access and LAGC fleets, as specified in § 648.53(a)(3) and (4), respectively. Approved RSA projects shall be allocated an amount of scallop pounds that can be harvested in open areas and available access areas. The specific access areas that are open to RSA harvest shall be specified through the framework process as identified in § 648.59(e)(1). In a year in which a framework adjustment is under PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 76525 review by the Council and/or NMFS, NMFS shall make RSA awards prior to approval of the framework, if practicable, based on total scallop pounds needed to fund each research project. Recipients may begin compensation fishing in open areas prior to approval of the framework, or wait until NMFS approval of the framework to begin compensation fishing within approved access areas * * * * * (f) If all RSA pounds awarded to a project cannot be harvested during the applicable fishing year, RSA TAC awarded to that project may be harvested through June 30 of the fishing year subsequent to the fishing year in which the set-aside is awarded. (g) Vessels conducting research under an approved RSA project may be exempt from crew restrictions specified in § 648.51, seasonal closures of access areas specified in § 648.60, and the restriction on fishing in only one access area during a trip specified in § 648.59(b)(4). The RSA project proposal must list which of these measures for which an exemption is required. An exemption shall be provided by Letter of Authorization issued by the Regional Administrator. RSA compensation fishing trips and combined compensation and research trips are not eligible for these exemptions. * * * * * § 648.57 ■ § 648.58 ■ ■ [Removed and reserved] 11. Remove and reserve § 648.57. [Removed and reserved] 12. Remove and reserve § 648.58. 13. Revise § 648.59 to read as follows: § 648.59 Sea Scallop Rotational Area Management Program and Access Area Program requirements. (a) The Sea Scallop Rotational Area Management Program consists of Scallop Rotational Areas, as defined in § 648.2. Guidelines for this area rotation program (i.e., when to close an area and reopen it to scallop fishing) are provided in § 648.55(a)(6). Whether a rotational area is open or closed to scallop fishing in a given year, and the appropriate level of access by limited access and LAGC IFQ vessels, are specified through the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55. When a rotational area is open to the scallop fishery, it is called an Access Area and scallop vessels fishing in the area are subject to the Access Area Program Requirements specified in this section. Areas not defined as Scallop Rotational Areas specified in § 648.60, EFH Closed Areas E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 76526 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations specified in § 648.61, or areas closed to scallop fishing under other FMPs, are governed by other management measures and restrictions in this part and are referred to as Open Areas. (1) When a Scallop Rotational Area is closed to scallop fishing, a vessel issued any scallop permit may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the area unless the vessel is transiting pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of this section. A vessel may fish for species other than scallops within the rotational closed areas, provided the vessel does not fish for, catch, or retain scallops or intend to fish for, catch, or retain scallops. When a Scallop Rotational Area is open to scallop fishing (henceforth referred to as an Access Area), a scallop vessel may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the area unless it is participating in, and complies with the requirements of, the Scallop Access Area Program Requirements defined in paragraphs (b) through (g) of this section or the vessel is transiting pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section. (2) Transiting a Closed Scallop Rotational Area. No vessel possessing scallops may enter or be in the area(s) specified in this section when those areas are closed, as specified through the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55, unless the vessel is transiting the area and the vessel’s fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2, or there is a compelling safety reason to be in such areas without such gear being stowed. A vessel may only transit the Closed Area II Scallop Rotational Area or the Closed Area II Extension Scallop Rotational Area, as defined § 648.60(d) and (e), respectively, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area, as defined in § 648.60(b), if there is a compelling safety reason for transiting the area and the vessel’s fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2. (3) Transiting a Scallop Access Area. Any sea scallop vessel that has not have installed on board an operational VMS unit that meets the minimum performance criteria specified in §§ 648.9 and 648.10, and paragraphs (b)(9) and (f) of this section. (2) Vessels participating in the Scallop Access Area Program must comply with the trip declaration requirements specified in § 648.10(f) and vessel notification requirements specified in § 648.11(g) for observer deployment. (3) Scallop Access Area Allocations— (i) Limited access vessel allocations and possession limits. (A) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55 determine the total amount of scallops, in weight, that a limited access scallop vessel may harvest from Scallop Access Areas during applicable seasons specified in § 648.60. A vessel may not possess or land in excess of its scallop allocation assigned to specific Scallop Access Areas, unless authorized by the Regional Administrator, as specified in paragraph (d) of this section, unless the vessel owner has exchanged an areaspecific scallop allocation with another vessel owner for additional scallop allocation in that area, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. A vessel may harvest its scallop allocation on any number of trips in a given fishing year, provided that no single trip exceeds the possession limits specified in the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55, unless authorized by the Regional Administrator, as specified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. No vessel declared into the Scallop Access Areas may possess more than 50 bu (17.62 hL) of in-shell scallops outside of the Scallop Rotational Area boundaries defined in § 648.60. (B) The following access area allocations and possession limits for limited access vessels will be effective for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years: Permit category Fishing year Access area 2016 ............ Mid-Atlantic Access Area 2017 * .......... mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES declared a trip into the Scallop Area Access Program may enter a Scallop Access Area, and possess scallops not caught in the Scallop Access Areas, for transiting purposes only, provided the vessel’s fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2. Any scallop vessel that has declared a trip into the Scallop Area Access Program may not enter or be in another Scallop Access Area on the same trip except such vessel may transit another Scallop Access Area provided its gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2, or there is a compelling safety reason to be in such areas without such gear being stowed. A vessel may only transit the Closed Area II Scallop Rotational Area or the Closed Area II Extension Scallop Rotational Area, as defined in § 648.60(d) and (e), respectively, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area, as defined in § 648.60(b) if there is a compelling safety reason for transiting the area and the vessel’s fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2. (b) A limited access scallop vessel may only fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas, defined in § 648.60, when the areas are open (i.e., Access Areas), as specified through the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55, subject to any additional restrictions specified in § 648.60, provided the vessel complies with the requirements specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(9), and (c) through (f) of this section. An LAGC scallop vessel may fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas, defined in § 648.60, when the areas are open (i.e., Access Areas), as specified through the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55, subject to any additional requirements specified in § 648.60, provided the vessel complies with the requirements specified in paragraph (g) of this section. (1) VMS. Each vessel participating in the Scallop Access Area Program must Mid-Atlantic Access Area Full-time Allocation ................... Possession limit ......... Allocation ................... Possession limit ......... 51,000 17,000 17,000 17,000 lb lb lb lb (23,133 (57,711 (57,711 (57,711 Part-time kg) kg) kg) kg) .... .... .... .... 20,400 10,200 10,200 10,200 lb lb lb lb (9,253 (4,627 (4,627 (4,627 kg) kg) kg) kg) Occasional ...... ...... ...... ...... 4,250 1,420 1,420 1,420 lb lb lb lb (1,928 kg). (644 kg). (644 kg). (644 kg). * The limited access fishery’s access area allocations and possession limits for the 2017 fishing year are subject to change through a future specifications action or framework adjustment. (ii) Limited access vessels’ one-for-one area access allocation exchanges. The owner of a vessel issued a limited access VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 scallop permit may exchange unharvested scallop pounds allocated into one access area for another vessel’s PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 unharvested scallop pounds allocated into another Scallop Access Area. These exchanges may only be made for the E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations amount of the current trip possession limit, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(i)(B) of this section. For example, if the access area trip possession limit for full-time vessels is 17,000 lb (7,711 kg), a full-time vessel may exchange no less than 17,000 lb (7,711 kg), from one access area for no more or less than 17,000 lb (7,711 kg) allocated to another vessel for another access area. In addition, these exchanges may be made only between vessels with the same permit category: A full-time vessel may not exchange allocations with a parttime vessel, and vice versa. Vessel owners must request these exchanges by submitting a completed Access Area Allocation Exchange Form at least 15 days before the date on which the applicant desires the exchange to be effective. Exchange forms are available from the Regional Administrator upon request. Each vessel owner involved in an exchange is required to submit a completed Access Area Allocation Form. The Regional Administrator shall review the records for each vessel to confirm that each vessel has enough unharvested allocation remaining in a given access area to exchange. The exchange is not effective until the vessel owner(s) receive a confirmation in writing from the Regional Administrator that the allocation exchange has been made effective. A vessel owner may exchange equal allocations up to the current possession limit between two or more vessels under his/her ownership. A vessel owner holding a Confirmation of Permit History is not eligible to exchange allocations between another vessel and the vessel for which a Confirmation of Permit History has been issued. (4) Area fished. While on a Scallop Access Area trip, a vessel may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from areas outside the Scallop Access Area in which the vessel operator has declared the vessel will fish during that trip, and may not enter or exit the specific declared Scallop Access Area more than once per trip. A vessel on a Scallop Access Area trip may not enter or be in another Scallop Access Area on the same trip except such vessel may transit another Scallop Access Area as provided for under paragraph (a)(3) of this section. (5) NE multispecies possession limits—(i) Maximum possession limit of NE Multispecies combined. A vessel owner or operator of a limited access scallop vessel issued a valid NE multispecies permit as specified in § 648.4(a)(1), that has declared into a Scallop Access Area and fishes within the open Scallop Rotational Area boundaries defined in § 648.60, may fish VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 for, possess, and land, per trip, up to a maximum of 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) of all NE multispecies combined, excluding yellowtail flounder, subject to the minimum commercial fish size restrictions specified in § 648.83(a)(1), and the additional restrictions for Atlantic cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder specified in paragraphs (b)(5)(ii) through (iv) of this section. (ii) Atlantic cod. Such vessel may bring onboard and possess only up to 100 lb (45.4 kg) of Atlantic cod per trip, provided such fish is intended for personal use only and cannot be not sold, traded, or bartered. (iii) Haddock. Such vessel may possess and land haddock up to the overall possession limit of all NE multispecies combined, as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section, except that such vessel are prohibited from possessing or landing haddock from January 1 through June 30. (iv) Yellowtail flounder. Such vessel is prohibited from fishing for, possessing, or landing yellowtail flounder. (6) Gear restrictions. (i) The minimum ring size for dredge gear used by a vessel fishing on a Scallop Access Area trip is 4 inches (10.2 cm) in diameter. Dredge or trawl gear used by a vessel fishing on a Scallop Access Area trip must be in accordance with the restrictions specified in § 648.51(a) and (b). (ii) Vessels fishing in the Closed Area I, Closed Area II, Closed Area II Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Scallop Rotational Areas defined in § 648.60 are prohibited from fishing with trawl gear as specified in § 648.51(f)(1). (7) Transiting. While outside a Sea Scallop Access Area (i.e., in open areas) on a Scallop Access Area trip, the vessel must have all fishing gear stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2, unless there is a compelling safety reason to be transiting open areas without gear stowed. Regulations pertaining to transiting Scallop Rotational Areas are provided for under paragraph (a)(3) of this section. (8) Off-loading restrictions. The vessel may not offload its catch from a Scallop Access Area trip at more than one location per trip. (9) Reporting. The owner or operator must submit scallop catch reports through the VMS, as specified in § 648.10(f)(4)(i), and limited access scallop access area pre-landing notification forms, as specified in § 648.10(f)(4)(iii). (c) Scallop Access Area scallop allocation carryover. With the exception of vessels that held a Confirmation of PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 76527 Permit History as described in § 648.4(a)(2)(i)(J) for the entire fishing year preceding the carry-over year, a limited access scallop vessel operator may fish any unharvested Scallop Access Area allocation from a given fishing year within the first 60 days of the subsequent fishing year if the Scallop Access Area is open, unless otherwise specified in this section. For example, if a full-time vessel has 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) remaining in the MidAtlantic Access Area at the end of fishing year 2016, that vessel may harvest 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) from its 2017 fishing year scallop access area allocation during the first 60 days that the Mid-Atlantic Access Area is open in fishing year 2017 (March 1, 2017, through April 29, 2018). Unless otherwise specified through the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55, if a Scallop Access Area is not open in the subsequent fishing year, then the unharvested scallop allocation would expire at the end of the fishing year that the scallops were allocated. (d) Increase in possession limit to defray costs of observers—The Regional Administrator may increase the sea scallop possession limit through the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55 to defray costs of at-sea observers deployed on area access trips subject to the limits specified § 648.53(g). An owner of a scallop vessel shall be notified of the increase in the possession limit through a permit holder letter issued by the Regional Administrator. If the observer set-aside is fully utilized prior to the end of the fishing year, the Regional Administrator shall notify owners of scallop vessels that, effective on a specified date, the increase in the possession limit is no longer available to offset the cost of observers. Unless otherwise notified by the Regional Administrator, vessel owners shall be responsible for paying the cost of the observer, regardless of whether the vessel lands or sells sea scallops on that trip, and regardless of the availability of set-aside for an increased possession limit. (e) Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Harvest in Scallop Access Areas.— Unless otherwise specified, RSA may be harvested in any access area that is open in a given fishing year, as specified through a specifications action or framework adjustment and pursuant to § 648.56. The amount of scallops that can be harvested in each access area by vessels participating in approved RSA projects shall be determined through the RSA application review and approval process. E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES 76528 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations (f) VMS polling. For the duration of the Sea Scallop Area Access Program, as defined in this section, all sea scallop vessels equipped with a VMS unit shall be polled at a minimum of twice per hour, regardless of whether the vessel is enrolled in the Sea Scallop Area Access Program. Vessel owners shall be responsible for paying the costs of polling twice per hour. (g) Limited Access General Category vessels. (1) An LAGC scallop vessel may only fish in the scallop rotational areas specified in § 648.60 or in paragraph (g)(3)(iv) of this section, subject to any additional restrictions specified in § 648.60, subject to the possession limit and access area schedule specified in the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55, provided the vessel complies with the requirements specified in paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(6) through (9), (d), (e), (f), and (g) of this section. A vessel issued both a NE multispecies permit and an LAGC scallop permit may fish in an approved SAP under § 648.85 and under multispecies DAS in the Closed Area I, Closed Area II, Closed Area II Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Scallop Rotational Areas specified in § 648.60, when open, provided the vessel complies with the requirements specified in § 648.59 and this paragraph (g), but may not fish for, possess, or land scallops on such trips. (2) Limited Access General Category Gear restrictions. An LAGC IFQ scallop vessel authorized to fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas specified in § 648.60 must fish with dredge gear only. The combined dredge width in use by, or in possession on board of, an LAGC scallop vessel fishing in Closed Area I, Closed Area II, Closed Area II Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Access Areas may not exceed 10.5 ft (3.2 m). The combined dredge width in use by, or in possession on board of, an LAGC scallop vessel fishing in the remaining Scallop Rotational Areas defined in § 648.60 may not exceed 31 ft (9.4 m). Dredge width is measured at the widest point in the bail of the dredge. (3) LAGC IFQ Access Area trips. (i) An LAGC scallop vessel authorized to fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas specified in § 648.60 or in paragraph (g)(3)(iv) of this section may land scallops, subject to the possession limit specified in § 648.52(a), unless the Regional Administrator has issued a notice that the number of LAGC IFQ access area trips have been or are projected to be taken. All LAGC IFQ access area trips must be taken in the fishing year that they are allocated (i.e., there are no carryover trips). The total number of LAGC IFQ trips in an Access VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 Area is specified in the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55. (ii) Scallops landed by each LAGC IFQ vessel on an access area trip shall count against the vessel’s IFQ. (iii) Upon a determination from the Regional Administrator that the total number of LAGC IFQ trips in a specified Access Area have been or are projected to be taken, the Regional Administrator shall publish notification of this determination in the Federal Register, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. Once this determination has been made, an LAGC IFQ scallop vessel may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the specified Access Area after the effective date of the notification published in the Federal Register. (iv) Nantucket Lightship North Sea Scallop Access Area. (A) From March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2018 (i.e., fishing years 2016 and 2017), a vessel issued an LAGC IFQ scallop permit may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the area known as the Nantucket Lightship North Access Area, defined in paragraph (g)(3)(iv)(B) of this section, unless the vessel is participating in, and complying with the requirements of, the area access program defined in this section or the vessel is transiting pursuant to § 648.59(a)(3). (B) The Nantucket Lightship North Sea Scallop Access Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request): Point NLNAA1 NLNAA2 NLNAA3 NLNAA4 NLNAA1 Latitude ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 40°50′ 40°30′ 40°30′ 40°50′ 40°50′ N N N N N Longitude 69°00′ 69°00′ 69°30′ 69°30′ 69°00′ W. W. W. W. W. (v) The following LAGC IFQ access area allocations will be effective for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years: Scallop rotational area 2016 Mid-Atlantic Access Area Nantucket Lightship North 2,068 485 2017 * 602 0 * The LAGC IFQ access area trip allocations for the 2017 fishing year are subject to change through a future specifications action or framework adjustment. (4) Possession limits—(i) Scallops. A vessel issued a NE multispecies permit and a general category scallop permit that is fishing in an approved SAP under § 648.85 under multispecies DAS, and that has not declared into the Scallop Access Area Program, is PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 prohibited from possessing scallops. An LAGC scallop vessel authorized to fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas specified in § 648.60 may possess scallops up to the possession limit specified in § 648.52(a). (ii) Other species. Unless issued an LAGC scallop permit and fishing under an approved NE multispecies SAP under NE multispecies DAS, an LAGC IFQ vessel fishing in the Closed Area I, Closed Area II, Closed Area II Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Rotational Areas specified in § 648.60, and the Nantucket Lightship North Sea Scallop Access Area specified in paragraph (g)(3)(iv) of this section is prohibited from possessing any species of fish other than scallops and monkfish, as specified in § 648.94(c)(8)(i). Such a vessel may fish in an approved SAP under § 648.85 and under multispecies DAS in the scallop access area, provided that it has not declared into the Scallop Access Area Program. Such a vessel is prohibited from fishing for, possessing, or landing scallops. ■ 14. Revise § 648.60 to read as follows: § 648.60 Sea Scallop Rotational Areas. (a) Mid-Atlantic Scallop Rotational Area. (1) The Mid-Atlantic Scallop Rotational Area is comprised of the following scallop access areas: The Delmarva Scallop Rotational Area, as defined in paragraph (a)(2) of this section; the Elephant Trunk Scallop Rotational Area, as defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section; and the Hudson Canyon Scallop Rotational Area, as defined in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. (2) Delmarva Scallop Rotational Area. The Delmarva Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request): Point DMV1 DMV2 DMV3 DMV4 DMV1 .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... Latitude 38°10′ 38°10′ 37°15′ 37°15′ 38°10′ N N N N N Longitude 74°50′ 74°00′ 74°00′ 74°50′ 74°50′ W. W. W. W. W. (3) Elephant Trunk Scallop Rotational Area. The Elephant Trunk Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request): Point ETAA1 .................. E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 Latitude 38°30′ N Longitude 74°20′ W. Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations Point ETAA2 ETAA3 ETAA4 ETAA5 ETAA6 ETAA7 ETAA8 ETAA1 Latitude .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. 38°30′ 38°40′ 38°40′ 38°50′ 38°50′ 38°10′ 38°10′ 38°30′ N N N N N N N N Longitude 73°50′ 73°50′ 73°40′ 73°40′ 73°30′ 73°30′ 74°20′ 74°20′ W. W. W. W. W. W. W. W. (4) Hudson Canyon Scallop Rotational Area. The Hudson Canyon Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request): Point H1 H2 H3 H4 H5 H1 Latitude ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... ......................... 39°30′ 39°30′ 38°30′ 38°50′ 38°50′ 39°30′ N N N N N N Longitude 73°10′ 72°30′ 73°30′ 73°30′ 73°42′ 73°10′ W. W. W. W. W. W. (b) Elephant Trunk Closed Area. The Elephant Trunk Closed Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request). Point ETCA ETCA ETCA ETCA ETCA ETCA ETCA 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 Latitude ................. ................. ................. ................. ................. ................. ................. 38°50′ 38°50′ 38°40′ 38°40′ 38°30′ 38°30′ 38°50′ N N N N N N N Longitude 74°20′ 73°40′ 73°40′ 73°50′ 73°50′ 74°20′ 74°20′ W. W. W. W. W. W. W. (c) Closed Area I Scallop Rotational Area. (1) The Closed Area I Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request), and so that the line connecting points CAIA3 and CAIA4 is the same as the portion of the western boundary line of Closed Area I, defined in § 648.81(a)(1), that lies between points CAIA3 and CAIA4: mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES Point CAIA1 ...... CAIA2 ...... CAIA3 ...... CAIA4 ...... CAIA1 ...... Latitude 41°26′ N 40°58′ N 40°54.95′ N 41°04′ N 41°26′ N Longitude 68°30′ W. 68°30′ W. 68°53.37′ W 69°01′ W. 68°30′ W. Note 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Point Latitude CAIIA1 ..... CAIIA2 ..... CAIIA3 ..... CAIIA4 ..... CAIIA5 ..... CAIIA1 ..... Longitude 41°00′ N 41°00′ N 41°18.45′ N 41°30′ N 41°30′ N 41°00′ N 67°20′ W. 66°35.8′ W (1) (3) 67°20′ W. 67°20′ W. Note (2 ) (2 ) 1 The intersection of 41°18.45′ N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada Maritime Boundary, approximately 41°18.45′ N. lat. and 66°24.89′ W. long. 2 From Point CAIIA3 connected to Point CAIIA4 along the U.S.-Canada Maritime Boundary. 3 The intersection of 41°30′ N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada Maritime Boundary, approximately 41°30′ N. lat., 66°34.73′ W. long. (2) Season. A vessel issued a scallop permit may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the area known as the Closed Area II Sea Scallop Rotational Area, defined in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, during the period of August 15 through November 15 of each year the Closed Area II Access Area is open to scallop vessels, unless transiting pursuant to § 648.59(a). (e) Closed Area II Extension Scallop Rotational Area. The Closed Area II Extension Rotational Area is defined by straight lines, except where noted, connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request): Point CAIIE1 CAIIE2 CAIIE3 CAIIE4 Latitude ..... ..... ..... ..... CAIIE5 ..... CAIIE1 ..... Longitude 40°30′ N 41°00′ N 41°00′ N 41°18.45′ N 40°30′ N 40°30′ N 67°20′ W. 67°20′ W. 66°35.8′ W (1) (3) 67°20′ W. Note (2 ) (2 ) 1 The intersection of 41°18.45′ N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada Maritime Boundary, approximately 41°18.45′ N. lat. and 66°24.89′ W. long. 2 From Point CAIIE4 to Point CAIIE5 following the U.S.-Canada Maritime Boundary. 3 The intersection of 40°30′ N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada Maritime Boundary, approximately, 65°44.34′ W. long. (1) (1) 1 From Point CAIA3 to Point CAIA4 along the western boundary of Closed Area I, defined in § 648.81(a)(1). VerDate Sep<11>2014 (d) Closed Area II Scallop Rotational Area. (1) The Closed Area II Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines, except where noted, connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request): Jkt 241001 (f) Nantucket Lightship Scallop Rotational Area. (1) The Nantucket Lightship Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 76529 available from the Regional Administrator upon request): Point NLAA1 NLAA2 NLAA3 NLAA4 NLAA5 NLAA6 NLAA1 .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. Latitude 40°50′ 40°50′ 40°33′ 40°33′ 40°20′ 40°20′ 40°50′ N N N N N N N Longitude 69°30′ 69°00′ 69°00′ 68°48′ 68°48′ 69°30′ 69°30′ W. W. W W W W. W. 15. In § 648.62, revise paragraph (a)(3), (b) introductory text, and paragraphs (b)(3), and (c) to read as follows: ■ § 648.62 Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Management Program. (a) * * * (3) Scallop landings by all vessels issued LAGC IFQ scallop permits and fishing in the NGOM scallop management area shall be deducted from the NGOM scallop total allowable catch specified in the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in § 648.55. Scallop landings by IFQ scallop vessels fishing in the NGOM scallop management area shall be deducted from their respective scallop IFQs. Landings by incidental catch scallop vessels and limited access scallop vessels fishing under the scallop DAS program shall not be deducted from the NGOM total allowable catch specified in paragraph (b) of this section. * * * * * (b) Total allowable catch. The total allowable catch for the NGOM scallop management area shall be specified through the framework adjustment process. The total allowable catch for the NGOM scallop management area shall be based on the Federal portion of the scallop resource in the NGOM. The total allowable catch shall be determined by historical landings until additional information on the NGOM scallop resource is available, for example through an NGOM resource survey and assessment. The ABC/ACL as defined in § 648.53(a) shall not include the total allowable catch for the NGOM scallop management area, and landings from the NGOM scallop management area shall not be counted against the ABC/ACL defined in § 648.53(a). * * * * * (3) If the annual NGOM TAC is exceeded, the amount of NGOM scallop landings in excess of the TAC specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall be deducted from the NGOM TAC for the subsequent fishing year, as soon as E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1 76530 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 213 / Thursday, November 3, 2016 / Rules and Regulations practicable, once scallop landings data for the NGOM fishery is available. (c) VMS requirements. Except scallop vessels issued a limited access scallop permit pursuant to § 648.4(a)(2)(i) that have declared a trip under the scallop DAS program, a vessel issued a scallop permit pursuant to § 648.4(a)(2) that intends to fish for scallops in the NGOM scallop management area or fishes for, possesses, or lands scallops in or from the NGOM scallop management area, must declare a NGOM scallop management area trip and report scallop catch through the vessel’s VMS unit, as required in § 648.10. If the vessel has a NGOM permit, the vessel must declare either a Federal NGOM trip or a statewaters NGOM trip. If a vessel intends to fish any part of a NGOM trip in Federal NGOM waters, it may not declare into the state water NGOM fishery. * * * * * ■ 16. In § 648.63, revise paragraph (b)(2)(iii) to read as follows: § 648.63 General category Sectors and harvesting cooperatives. * * * * * (b) * * * (2) * * * (iii) A sector shall not be allocated more than 20 percent of the ACL for IFQ vessels defined in § 648.53(a)(4). * * * * * ■ 17. In § 648.64, revise paragraph (e) to read as follows: § 648.64 Yellowtail flounder sub-ACLs and AMs for the scallop fishery. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with RULES * * * * * (e) Process for implementing the AM—(1) If reliable information is available to make a mid-year determination: On or about January 15 of each year, based upon catch and other information available to NMFS, the Regional Administrator shall determine whether a yellowtail flounder sub-ACL was exceeded, or is projected to be exceeded, by scallop vessels prior to the end of the scallop fishing year. The determination shall include the amount of the overage or projected amount of the overage, specified as a percentage of the overall sub-ACL for the applicable yellowtail flounder stock, in accordance with the values specified in paragraph (a) of this section. Based on this initial projection in mid-January, the Regional Administrator shall implement the AM in accordance with the APA and notify owners of limited access and LAGC scallop vessels by letter identifying the length of the closure and a summary of the yellowtail flounder catch, overage, and projection that resulted in the closure. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Nov 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 (2) If reliable information is not available to make a mid-year determination: Once NMFS has compiled the necessary information (e.g., when the previous fishing year’s observer and catch data are fully available), the Regional Administrator shall determine whether a yellowtail flounder sub-ACL was exceeded by scallop vessels following the end of the scallop fishing year. The determination shall include the amount of the overage, specified as a percentage of the overall sub-ACL for the applicable yellowtail flounder stock, in accordance with the values specified in paragraph (a) of this section. Based on this information, the Regional Administrator shall implement the AM in accordance with the APA in Year 3 (e.g., an accountability measure would be implemented in fishing year 2016 for an overage that occurred in fishing year 2014) and notify owners of limited access and LAGC scallop vessels by letter identifying the length of the closure and a summary of the yellowtail flounder catch and overage information. * * * * * ■ 18. In § 648.65, revise paragraph (c) to read as follows: § 648.65 Windowpane flounder sub-ACL and AM for the scallop fishery. * * * * (c) Process for implementing the AM—(1) If reliable information is available to make a mid-year determination: On or about January 15 of each year, based upon catch and other information available to NMFS, the Regional Administrator shall determine whether the SNE/MA windowpane flounder sub-ACL was exceeded, or is projected to be exceeded, and if an accountability measure was triggered as described in § 648.90(a)(5)(iv), by scallop vessels prior to the end of the scallop fishing year. The determination shall include the amount of the overage or projected amount of the overage, specified as a percentage of the overall sub-ACL for the SNE/MA windowpane flounder stock, in accordance with the values specified in paragraph (a) of this section. Based on this initial determination in mid-January, the Regional Administrator shall implement the AM in the following fishing year in accordance with the APA and attempt to notify owners of limited access and LAGC scallop vessels by letter identifying the length of the gear restricted area and a summary of the SNE/MA windowpane flounder catch, overage, and projection that resulted in the gear restricted area. (2) If reliable information is not available to make a mid-year determination: Once NMFS has compiled the necessary information (e.g., when the previous fishing year’s observer and catch data are fully available), the Regional Administrator shall determine whether the SNE/MA windowpane flounder sub-ACL was exceeded and if an accountability measure was triggered as described in § 648.90(a)(5)(iv), by scallop vessels following the end of the scallop fishing year. The determination shall include the amount of the overage, specified as a percentage of the overall sub-ACL for the SNE/MA windowpane flounder stock, in accordance with the values specified in paragraph (a) of this section. Based on this information, the Regional Administrator shall implement the AM in accordance with the APA in Year 3 (e.g., an accountability measure would be implemented in fishing year 2016 for an overage that occurred in fishing year 2014) and attempt to notify owners of limited access and LAGC scallop vessels by letter identifying the length of the gear restricted area and a summary of the SNE/MA windowpane flounder catch and overage information. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2016–25963 Filed 11–2–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P * PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 150916863–6211–02] RIN 0648–XF012 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; reallocation. AGENCY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from catcher vessels using trawl gear and American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher processors (C/Ps) to catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters (m)) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, and Amendment 80 (A80) C/Ps in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2016 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific cod to be harvested. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\03NOR1.SGM 03NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 213 (Thursday, November 3, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 76516-76530]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-25963]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 160126052-6974-02]
RIN 0648-BF72


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop 
Fishery; Amendment 19

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This final rule implements Amendment 19 to the Atlantic Sea 
Scallop Fishery Management Plan, which the New England Fishery 
Management Council adopted and submitted to NMFS for approval. 
Amendment 19 establishes a specifications process outside of the 
current framework adjustment process and adjusts the start of the 
scallop fishing year from March 1 to April 1. These changes will help 
reduce potential economic and biological consequences from late 
implementation of specifications and reduce the overall administrative 
burden associated with late implementation. As a result of these 
changes, NMFS will be able to implement simple specifications actions 
at the start of the fishing year on a more consistent basis.

DATES: Effective December 5, 2016.

ADDRESSES: The Council developed an environmental assessment (EA) for 
this action that describes these measures and other considered 
alternatives and provides a thorough analysis of the impacts of the 
measures and alternatives. Copies of the Amendment, the EA, and the 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFA), are available upon request from 
Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management 
Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950.
    Copies of the small entity compliance guide are available from John 
K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional 
Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298, 
or available on the Internet at http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/species/scallop/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Travis Ford, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
978-281-9233.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The Council adopted Amendment 19 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP) at its December 3, 2015, meeting and 
submitted the amendment to NMFS on June 16, 2016. NMFS published a 
notice of availability on July 20, 2016 (81 FR 47152), and a proposed 
rule, including a reference on how to obtain the amendment and the 
draft final EA, for approving and implementing Amendment 19 on August 
16, 2016 (81 FR 54533). The NOA included a 60-day public comment period 
that closed on September 19, 2016, and the proposed rule included a 30-
day public comment period that closed on September 15, 2016. NMFS 
reviewed and finalized the amendment document to ensure consistency 
with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Scallop FMP, and other applicable laws. 
NMFS approved Amendment 19 in its entirety.

[[Page 76517]]

    In order to incorporate the most recent available scallop survey 
information, which has proved essential in setting appropriate access 
area catch levels, the Council has been taking final action in November 
or December, and NMFS has typically implemented allocations in May or 
June. Prior to this action, this would result in allocations for a 
given fishing year in place 2 to 3 months after the March 1 start of 
the fishing year.
    To address these timing issues while still supporting the current 
timeline for integrating the best available science in to the 
management process, Amendment 19 establishes a specifications process 
so that allocations do not need to be tied to more complex actions like 
frameworks or amendments that tend to have longer development, review, 
and implementation timelines; and adjusts the scallop fishing year to 
April 1 through March 31.

Allowing for Allocations To Be Set Through Specifications Actions

    Amendment 19 creates a new specifications process for the Scallop 
FMP. Adding the ability to adjust allocations through a specifications 
setting process produces some time savings because the Council will not 
be required to discuss measures over the course of two Council 
meetings, as is required under a framework. In addition, measures 
developed in a specifications action will be limited to those related 
to allocations and possession limits. This means that some of the more 
complicated management measures typically contained in frameworks will 
not be included, thus the development and rulemaking for these actions 
will be simplified. Although developing a specifications action will 
save some time in the development of allocations, it would not 
guarantee allocations will be in place by March 1 of each year. It is 
more likely that allocations could be implemented on April 1, a month 
after the current start of the fishing year.
    The Council will not be required to set scallop allocations through 
a specifications action and could utilize a framework to develop more 
robust management measures, but more complicated actions and more 
management measures under consideration generally means the action will 
take longer to develop, review, and implement.

Changing the Start of the Fishing Year to April 1

    Because a specifications action would more likely be implemented on 
April 1, Amendment 19 changes the scallop fishing year to April 1 
through March 31. Pushing the fishing year back one month will increase 
the likelihood that NMFS will be able to implement simple 
specifications actions at the start of the scallop fishing year on a 
more consistent basis and not need to implement default measures at 
all.
    To give the industry time to account for this change in their 
business planning, this measure will not be effective until fishing 
year 2018. Because the current fishing year began on March 1, 2016, 
fishing year 2016 will not be affected by this change. Fishing year 
2017 will be 13 months long, running from March 1, 2017, through March 
31, 2018. The Council intends to prorate allocations appropriately for 
2017 to account for this additional month. On April 1, 2018, the 
scallop fishing year will officially change for fishing year 2018 and 
beyond.
    Amendment 19 also adjusts the scallop permit year so that it 
continues to match the official fishing year (i.e., scallop permits 
will need to be renewed by April 1 of each year). This change is also 
effective beginning in fishing year 2018.

Regulatory Corrections Under Regional Administrator Authority

    NMFS removed the annual specifications from the regulatory text and 
reorganized the layout of the regulations to help streamline the 
approval of future specifications actions. As a result, this rule 
includes revisions to the regulatory text that reorganize and condense 
references to annual scallop allocations and possession limits. These 
adjustments do not make any substantive changes to the implications of 
the current regulations and allow future specifications-setting actions 
to be implemented sooner by avoiding the need to make extensive 
regulatory changes for each specifications-setting action. These 
changes are consistent with section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 
which provides that the Secretary of Commerce may promulgate 
regulations necessary to ensure that amendments to an FMP are carried 
out in accordance with the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    To accommodate the specifications process and simplify the scallop 
regulations, NMFS makes the following changes to regulatory text: 
Revising the definitions in Sec.  648.2 to remove the unnecessary 
distinction between Rotational Closed Areas and Scallop Access Areas; 
consolidating all of the allocations into a single table in Sec.  
648.53; condensing the explanations of OFL, ABC, and ACL into Sec.  
648.53, which creates a single section dedicated to all of the catch 
limits (the current regulations have this information repeated again at 
Sec.  648.55, which NMFS removed); removing Sec. Sec.  648.57 and 
648.58 and integrating them into Sec. Sec.  648.59 and 648.60 to 
describe the scallop access area program and remove the unnecessary 
distinction between Rotational Closed Areas and Scallop Access Areas; 
and moving access area program requirements currently in Sec.  648.60 
to Sec.  648.59 to provide a dedicated section to access area program 
requirements (Sec.  648.59) and a dedicated section to listing all of 
the scallop access areas (Sec.  648.60).
    Under this same section 305(d) authority, this action also makes 
the following revisions to the regulatory text, unrelated to the 
addition of a specifications process, to address text that is 
unnecessary, outdated, unclear, or NMFS could otherwise improve: 
Revising Sec. Sec.  648.14(i)(2)(vi)(B) and 648.14(i)(3)(v)(E) to 
clarify in the prohibitions a requirement currently in Sec.  648.58(e) 
that vessels cannot transit the Closed Area II Rotational Area, the 
Closed Area II Extension Rotational Area, or the Elephant Trunk Closed 
Area unless there is a compelling safety reason for transiting the 
area; adding back in text, at Sec.  648.53(c), regarding limited access 
accountability measures that was unintentionally removed during 
Framework Adjustment 27 to the Scallop FMP (81 FR 26727, May 4, 2016); 
updating a reference in Sec.  648.54 regarding the state waters 
exemption program that was unintentionally overlooked in Framework 
Adjustment 26 to the Scallop FMP (80 FR 22119, April 21, 2015); 
revising Sec.  648.56(f) to reflect a change that scallop research set-
aside (RSA) can be harvested to accommodate the change in fishing year 
(changing from May 31 to June 30 of the fishing year subsequent to the 
fishing year in which the set-aside is awarded); and revising Sec.  
648.62(c) to clarify that NGOM vessels must declare either a Federal 
NGOM trip or a state-waters NGOM trip on their VMS units when declaring 
a scallop trip.
    Finally, due to the extensive regulatory changes in this action, 
NMFS is updating references throughout the scallop regulations that 
NMFS has changed based on the regulatory adjustments. NMFS has included 
a summary of all of the regulatory changes in this rule in Table 1.

[[Page 76518]]



                            Table 1--Summary of Regulatory Changes to 50 CFR Part 648
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Section                Current title          Title         Type of changes     Summary of changes
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
648.2..........................  Definitions......  Same.............  Amendment 19 &     Changes address the
                                                                        Regulatory         new scallop fishing
                                                                        Streamlining.      year and remove the
                                                                                           unnecessary
                                                                                           distinction between
                                                                                           Rotational Closed
                                                                                           Areas and Scallop
                                                                                           Access Areas.
648.10.........................  VMS and DAS        Same.............  Regulatory         Changes update
                                  requirements for                      Streamlining.      references that will
                                  vessel owners/                                           change based on
                                  operators.                                               regulatory
                                                                                           adjustments to other
                                                                                           sections.
648.14.........................  Prohibitions.....  Same.............  Regulatory         Changes update
                                                                        Streamlining &     references that will
                                                                        Corrections.       change based on
                                                                                           regulatory
                                                                                           adjustments to other
                                                                                           sections.
                                                                                           Clarification that
                                                                                           vessels cannot
                                                                                           transit the Closed
                                                                                           Area II Rotational
                                                                                           Area, the Closed Area
                                                                                           II Extension
                                                                                           Rotational Area, or
                                                                                           the Elephant Trunk
                                                                                           Closed Area.
648.51.........................  Gear and crew      Same.............  Regulatory         Changes update
                                  restrictions.                         Streamlining.      references that will
                                                                                           change based on
                                                                                           regulatory
                                                                                           adjustments to other
                                                                                           sections.
648.52.........................  Possession and     Same.............  Regulatory         Changes update
                                  landing limits.                       Streamlining.      references that will
                                                                                           change based on
                                                                                           regulatory
                                                                                           adjustments to other
                                                                                           sections.
648.53.........................  Acceptable         Overfishing        Amendment 19,      Changes address
                                  biological         limit,             Regulatory         Amendment 19
                                  catch, annual      acceptable         Streamlining, &    specifications
                                  catch limits,      biological         Corrections.       process, condense
                                  annual catch       catch, annual                         allocations into a
                                  targets, DAS       catch limits,                         single table, and
                                  allocations, and   annual catch                          condense the
                                  individual         targets, DAS                          explanations of OFL,
                                  fishing quotas.    allocations, and                      ABC, and ACL in to a
                                                     individual                            single section. The
                                                     fishing quotas.                       current regulations
                                                                                           have this information
                                                                                           repeated again at
                                                                                           Sec.   648.55. Also,
                                                                                           NMFS adds back in
                                                                                           text, at Sec.
                                                                                           648.53(c), regarding
                                                                                           limited access
                                                                                           accountability
                                                                                           measures that was
                                                                                           unintentionally
                                                                                           removed during
                                                                                           scallop Framework
                                                                                           Adjustment 27.
648.54.........................  State waters       Same.............  Corrections......  The change to this
                                  exemption.                                               section updates an
                                                                                           old reference that
                                                                                           should have occurred
                                                                                           during scallop
                                                                                           Framework Adjustment
                                                                                           26 rulemaking but was
                                                                                           inadvertently
                                                                                           overlooked.
648.55.........................  Framework          Specifications     Amendment 19 &     Changes to this
                                  adjustments to     and framework      Regulatory         section address
                                  management         adjustments to     Streamlining.      Amendment 19 changes,
                                  measures.          management                            but also fine-tune
                                                     measures.                             previous regulations
                                                                                           and remove repetitive
                                                                                           regulations that are
                                                                                           now consolidated into
                                                                                           Sec.   648.53,
                                                                                           specifically the
                                                                                           explanation of OFL,
                                                                                           ABC, and ACL.
648.56.........................  Scallop research.  Same.............  Amendment 19 &     Changes update
                                                                        Regulatory         references that will
                                                                        Streamlining.      change based on other
                                                                                           regulatory
                                                                                           adjustments and
                                                                                           support the Amendment
                                                                                           19 alternative to
                                                                                           change the fishing
                                                                                           year to April 1.
                                                                                           Changes would push
                                                                                           back the 90-day RSA
                                                                                           carryover timeframe
                                                                                           by a month (from May
                                                                                           31 to June 30) to
                                                                                           accommodate the
                                                                                           change in fishing
                                                                                           year.
648.57.........................  Sea scallop area   Reserved.........  Amendment 19 &     Changes remove
                                  rotation program.                     Regulatory         unnecessary
                                                                        Streamlining.      distinction between
                                                                                           rotational closed
                                                                                           areas and scallop
                                                                                           access areas,
                                                                                           clarifying that
                                                                                           rotational areas can
                                                                                           be open or closed as
                                                                                           determined through
                                                                                           the specifications or
                                                                                           framework process.
                                                                                           Consolidates the
                                                                                           regulations formerly
                                                                                           in this section in to
                                                                                           Sec.   648.59.
648.58.........................  Rotational Closed  Reserved.........  Amendment 19 &     Changes remove
                                  Areas.                                Regulatory         unnecessary
                                                                        Streamlining.      distinction between
                                                                                           rotational closed
                                                                                           areas and scallop
                                                                                           access areas
                                                                                           clarifying that
                                                                                           rotational areas can
                                                                                           be open or closed, as
                                                                                           determined through
                                                                                           the specifications or
                                                                                           framework process.
                                                                                           Consolidating the
                                                                                           regulations formerly
                                                                                           in this section in to
                                                                                           Sec.  Sec.   648.59
                                                                                           and 648.60.
648.59.........................  Sea Scallop        Sea scallop        Amendment 19 &     There are no
                                  Access Areas.      rotational area    Regulatory         substantial changes
                                                     management         Streamlining.      to current regulatory
                                                     program and                           text in this section;
                                                     access area                           portions of this
                                                     program                               section are
                                                     requirements.                         reorganized to
                                                                                           incorporate
                                                                                           regulations formerly
                                                                                           in Sec.  Sec.
                                                                                           648.57 and 648.58.
                                                                                           Also, the access area
                                                                                           program requirements
                                                                                           were moved to this
                                                                                           section from Sec.
                                                                                           648.60 for clarity.

[[Page 76519]]

 
648.60.........................  Sea scallop        Sea scallop        Amendment 19 &     There are no
                                  access area        rotational areas.  Regulatory         substantial changes
                                  program                               Streamlining.      to current regulatory
                                  requirements.                                            text in this section;
                                                                                           portions of this
                                                                                           section are
                                                                                           reorganized to
                                                                                           incorporate
                                                                                           regulations formerly
                                                                                           in Sec.   648.58.
                                                                                           Also, the access area
                                                                                           program requirements
                                                                                           were moved from this
                                                                                           section toSec.
                                                                                           648.59 for clarity.
648.62.........................  Northern Gulf of   Same.............  Amendment 19,      Changes to this
                                  Maine (NGOM)                          Regulatory         section support the
                                  Management                            Streamlining, &    specifications
                                  Program.                              Corrections.       process and update
                                                                                           references that will
                                                                                           change based on other
                                                                                           regulatory
                                                                                           adjustments. Also,
                                                                                           changes clarify that
                                                                                           NGOM vessels must
                                                                                           declare either a
                                                                                           Federal NGOM trip or
                                                                                           a state-waters NGOM
                                                                                           trip.
648.63.........................  General category   Same.............  Regulatory         Changes update
                                  Sectors and                           Streamlining.      references that will
                                  harvesting                                               change based on
                                  cooperatives.                                            regulatory
                                                                                           adjustments to other
                                                                                           sections.
648.64.........................  Yellowtail         Same.............  Amendment 19.....  Changes to this
                                  flounder sub-                                            section are to
                                  ACLs and AMs for                                         support the Amendment
                                  the scallop                                              19 alternative to
                                  fishery.                                                 change the fishing
                                                                                           year to April 1.
648.65.........................  Windowpane         Same.............  Amendment 19.....  Changes to this
                                  flounder sub-ACL                                         section are to
                                  and AM for the                                           support the Amendment
                                  scallop fishery.                                         19 alternative to
                                                                                           change the fishing
                                                                                           year to April 1.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received one comment letter in response to the proposed rule, 
from Lund's Fisheries, Inc. NMFS may only approve, disapprove, or 
partially approve measures in Amendment 19, and cannot substantively 
amend, add, or delete measures beyond what is necessary under section 
305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to discharge its responsibility to 
carry out such measures.
    Comment: Lund's Fisheries, Inc., commented in support of Amendment 
19 because it eliminates uncertainties with harvesters, processors and 
their customers created by the late implementation of the scallop 
specifications.
    Response: NMFS appreciates Lund's Fisheries, Inc., support of this 
action.

Changes From Proposed Rule to Final Rule

    There were no changes from the proposed rule.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is 
consistent with the FMPs, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act 
and other applicable law.
    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
final rule is not significant according to Executive Order (E.O.) 
12866.
    This final rule does not contain policies with federalism or 
``takings'' implications, as those terms are defined in E.O. 13132 and 
E.O. 12630, respectively.
    This action does not contain any collection-of-information 
requirements subject the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration at the proposed rule stage that this rule will not have 
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: October 20, 2016.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is 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. Amend Sec.  648.2 by:
0
a. Revising the definitions of ``Fishing year,'' ``Open areas,'' and 
``Permit year'';
0
b. Removing the definitions of ``Rotational Closed Area'' and ``Sea 
Scallop Access Area'';
0
c. Adding the definitions for ``Sea Scallop Access Area, Scallop Access 
Area, or Access Area'' and ``Sea Scallop Rotational Area, Scallop 
Rotational Area, or Rotational Area'' in alphabetical order.
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  648.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Fishing year means:
    (1) For the Atlantic deep-sea red crab fishery, from March 1 
through the last day of February of the following year.
    (2) Beginning in 2018, for the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, from 
April 1 through March 31 of the following year (for 2017, the Atlantic 
sea scallop fishing year will be from March 1, 2017, through March 31, 
2018).
    (3) For the NE multispecies, monkfish and skate fisheries, from May 
1 through April 30 of the following year.
    (4) For the tilefish fishery, from November 1 through October 31 of 
the following year.
    (5) For all other fisheries in this part, from January 1 through 
December 31.
* * * * *
    Open areas, with respect to the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, means 
any area that is not subject to restrictions of the Sea Scallop 
Rotational Areas specified in Sec. Sec.  648.59 and 648.60, EFH Closed 
Areas specified in Sec.  648.61, or the Northern Gulf of Maine 
Management Area specified in Sec.  648.62.
* * * * *
    Permit year means:

[[Page 76520]]

    (1) For the Atlantic deep-sea red crab fishery, from March 1 
through the last day of February of the following year;
    (2) Beginning in 2018, for the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, from 
April 1 through the last day of March of the following year (for 2017, 
the Atlantic sea scallop permit year will be from March 1, 2017, 
through March 31, 2018);
    (3) For all other fisheries in this part, from May 1 through April 
30 of the following year.
* * * * *
    Sea Scallop Access Area, Scallop Access Area, or Access Area, with 
respect to the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, means an area that has 
been designated under the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan 
as a sea scallop rotational area that is open to the scallop fishery in 
a given fishing year.
* * * * *
    Sea Scallop Rotational Area, Scallop Rotational Area, or Rotational 
Area, with respect to the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, means an area 
that has been designated under the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery 
Management Plan as part of the Sea Scallop Rotational Management 
Program. A rotational area may be closed or open to the scallop fishery 
in a given fishing year. A rotational area open to the scallop fishery 
is termed a Sea Scallop Access Area and has area-specific management 
measures that are designed to control fishing effort and mortality on 
only the portion of the scallop resource within the area. Such measures 
are not applicable as defined in Sec.  648.2 in the definition to Open 
Areas.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  648.10, revise paragraph (b)(2), the first sentence in 
paragraph (f)(4)(i) introductory text, paragraph (h) introductory text, 
and paragraph (h)(8)(ii) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.10  VMS and DAS requirements for vessel owners/operators.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) A scallop vessel issued an Occasional limited access permit 
when fishing under the Sea Scallop Area Access Program specified under 
Sec.  648.59;
* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (i) The owner or operator of a limited access or LAGC IFQ vessel 
that fishes for, possesses, or retains scallops, and is not fishing 
under a NE Multispecies DAS or sector allocation, must submit reports 
through the VMS, in accordance with instructions to be provided by the 
Regional Administrator, for each day fished, including open area trips, 
access area trips as described in Sec.  648.59(b)(9), and trips 
accompanied by a NMFS-approved observer. * * *
* * * * *
    (h) Call-in notification. The owner of a vessel issued a limited 
access monkfish permit who is participating in a DAS program and who is 
not required to provide notification using a VMS, and a scallop vessel 
qualifying for a DAS allocation under the occasional category that has 
not elected to fish under the VMS notification requirements of 
paragraph (e) of this section and is not participating in the Sea 
Scallop Area Access program as specified in Sec.  648.59, and any 
vessel that may be required by the Regional Administrator to use the 
call-in program under paragraph (i) of this section, are subject to the 
following requirements:
* * * * *
    (8) * * *
    (ii) A vessel issued a limited access scallop and LAGC IFQ scallop 
permit that possesses or lands more than 600 lb (272.2 kg) of scallops, 
unless otherwise specified in Sec.  648.59(d)(2);
* * * * *

0
4. Amend Sec.  648.14 by:
0
a. Revising paragraphs (i)(1)(vi), (i)(2)(ii)(B)(7), (i)(2)(iii)(B), 
(i)(2)(iii)(C), (i)(2)(iv)(B), paragraph (i)(2)(vi) introductory text, 
and paragraph (i)(2)(vi)(A);
0
b. Adding paragraph (i)(2)(vi)(B);
0
c. Revising paragraphs (i)(2)(vi)(D), (i)(3)(iv)(A), (i)(3)(v); and
0
d. Revising paragraph (i)(4)(i)(A).
    The additions and revisions read as follows:


Sec.  648.14  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (i) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (vi) Closed area requirements--(A) EFH Closed Areas. (1) Fish for 
scallops in, or possess or land scallops from, the EFH Closed Areas 
specified in Sec.  648.61.
    (2) Transit or enter the EFH Closure Areas specified in Sec.  
648.61, except as provided by Sec.  648.61(b).
    (B) Scallop Rotational Areas. (1) Fish for scallops in, or possess 
or land scallops from, the Scallop Rotational Areas closed to the 
scallop fishery through the specifications or framework adjustment 
processes specified in Sec.  648.55.
    (2) Transit or enter the Scallop Rotational Areas, except as 
provided by Sec.  648.59(a) or (b).
* * * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (B) * * *
    (7) Fish in a Sea Scallop Access Area, as described in Sec.  
648.60, with more persons on board the vessel than the number specified 
in Sec.  648.51(c) or Sec.  648.51(e)(3)(i), unless otherwise 
authorized by the Regional Administrator.
* * * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (B) Fish for, possess, or land more than 50 bu (17.62 hL) of in-
shell scallops once inside the VMS Demarcation Line on or by a vessel 
that, at any time during the trip, fished in or transited any area 
south of 42[deg]20' N. lat; or fished in any Sea Scallop Area Access 
Program specified in Sec.  648.59, except as provided in the state 
waters exemption, as specified in Sec.  648.54.
    (C) Fish for, possess, or land per trip, at any time, scallops in 
excess of any sea scallop possession and landing limit set by the 
Regional Administrator in accordance with Sec.  648.59(b)(3) when 
properly declared into the Sea Scallop Area Access Program as described 
in Sec.  648.59.
* * * * *
    (iv) * * *
    (B) Combine, transfer, or consolidate DAS allocations, except as 
allowed for one-for-one Access Area trip exchanges as specified in 
Sec.  648.59(b)(3)(ii).
* * * * *
    (vi) Scallop rotational area management program and scallop access 
area program requirements. (A) Fail to comply with any of the 
provisions and specifications of Sec.  648.59.
    (B) Transit the Closed Area II Rotational Area or the Closed Area 
II Extension Rotational Area, as defined Sec.  648.60(d) and (e), 
respectively, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area, as defined in Sec.  
648.60(b), unless there is a compelling safety reason for transiting 
the area and the vessel's fishing gear is stowed and not available for 
immediate use as defined in Sec.  648.2.
* * * * *
    (D) Possess more than 50 bu (17.6 hL) of in-shell scallops outside 
the boundaries of a Sea Scallop Access Area by a vessel that is 
declared into the Area Access Program as specified in Sec.  648.59.
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (iv) * * *
    (A) Fail to comply with any of the VMS requirements specified in 
Sec. Sec.  648.10, 648.59, or 648.62.
* * * * *
    (v) Scallop rotational area management program and scallop access 
area program requirements. (A)

[[Page 76521]]

Fail to comply with any of the requirements specified in Sec.  648.59.
    (B) Declare into or leave port for an area specified in Sec.  
648.60 after the effective date of a notification published in the 
Federal Register stating that the number of LAGC trips have been taken, 
as specified in Sec.  648.59.
    (C) Fish for or land per trip, or possess in excess of 40 lb (18.1 
kg) of shucked scallops at any time in or from any Sea Scallop Access 
Area specified at Sec.  648.60, unless declared into the Sea Scallop 
Access Area Program.
    (D) Fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from any Sea Scallop 
Access Area without an observer on board, unless the vessel owner, 
operator, or manager has received a waiver to carry an observer for the 
specified trip and area fished.
    (E) Transit the Closed Area II Rotational Area or the Closed Area 
II Extension Rotational Area, as defined Sec.  648.60(d) and (e), 
respectively, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area, as defined in Sec.  
648.60(b), unless there is a compelling safety reason for transiting 
the area and the vessel's fishing gear is stowed and not available for 
immediate use as defined in Sec.  648.2.
* * * * *
    (4) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) Fish for or land per trip, or possess at any time, in excess of 
600 lb (272.2 kg) of shucked, or 75 bu (26.4 hL) of in-shell scallops 
per trip, or 100 bu (35.2 hL) in-shell scallops seaward of the VMS 
Demarcation Line, unless the vessel is carrying an observer as 
specified in Sec.  648.11 and an increase in the possession limit is 
authorized by the Regional Administrator and not exceeded by the 
vessel, as specified in Sec. Sec.  648.52(g) and 648.59(d).
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  648.51, revise paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(3)(i), paragraph (c) 
introductory text, and paragraph (f)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.51  Gear and crew restrictions.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) Maximum dredge width. The combined dredge width in use by or in 
possession on board such vessels shall not exceed 31 ft (9.4 m), 
measured at the widest point in the bail of the dredge, except as 
provided under paragraph (e) of this section, in Sec.  648.59(g)(2), 
and the scallop dredge exemption areas specified in Sec.  648.80. 
However, component parts may be on board the vessel such that they do 
not conform with the definition of ``dredge or dredge gear'' in Sec.  
648.2, i.e., the metal ring bag and the mouth frame, or bail, of the 
dredge are not attached, and such that no more than one complete spare 
dredge could be made from these component's parts.
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) Unless otherwise required under the Sea Scallop Area Access 
program specified in Sec.  648.59(b)(6), the ring size used in a 
scallop dredge possessed or used by scallop vessels shall not be 
smaller than 4 inches (10.2 cm).
* * * * *
    (c) Crew restrictions. A limited access vessel participating in or 
subject to the scallop DAS allocation program may have no more than 
seven people aboard, including the operator, and a limited access 
vessel participating in the Sea Scallop Area Access Program as 
specified in Sec.  648.59 may have no more than eight people aboard, 
including the operator, when not docked or moored in port, except as 
follows:
* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (1) A vessel issued a limited access scallop permit fishing for 
scallops under the scallop DAS allocation program may not fish with, 
possess on board, or land scallops while in possession of a trawl net, 
unless such vessel has been issued a limited access trawl vessel permit 
that endorses the vessel to fish for scallops with a trawl net. A 
limited access scallop vessel issued a trawl vessel permit that 
endorses the vessel to fish for scallops with a trawl net and general 
category scallop vessels enrolled in the Area Access Program as 
specified in Sec.  648.59, may not fish for scallops with a trawl net 
in the Closed Area 1, Closed Area II, Closed Area II Extension, and 
Nantucket Lightship Rotational Areas specified in Sec.  648.60.
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  648.52, revise paragraphs (d), (f), and (g) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  648.52  Possession and landing limits.

* * * * *
    (d) Owners or operators of vessels with a limited access scallop 
permit that have properly declared into the Sea Scallop Area Access 
Program as described in Sec.  648.59 are prohibited from fishing for or 
landing per trip, or possessing at any time, scallops in excess of any 
sea scallop possession and landing limit set by the Regional 
Administrator in accordance with Sec.  648.59(b)(5).
* * * * *
    (f) A limited access vessel or an LAGC vessel that is declared into 
the Sea Scallop Area Access Program as described in Sec.  648.59, may 
not possess more than 50 bu (17.6 hL) or 75 bu (26.4 hL), respectively, 
of in-shell scallops outside of the Access Areas described in Sec.  
648.60.
    (g) Possession limit to defray the cost of observers for LAGC IFQ 
vessels. An LAGC IFQ vessel with an observer on board may retain, per 
observed trip, up to 1 day's allowance of the possession limit 
allocated to limited access vessels, as established by the Regional 
Administrator in accordance with Sec.  648.59(d), provided the observer 
set-aside specified in Sec.  648.59(d)(1) has not been fully utilized. 
For example, if the limited access vessel daily possession limit to 
defray the cost of an observer is 180 lb (82 kg), the LAGC IFQ 
possession limit to defray the cost of an observer would be 180 lb (82 
kg) per trip, regardless of trip length.

0
7. In Sec.  648.53, revise the section heading and paragraphs (a), (b), 
(c), (d), (e), (g)(1), (h)(2) introductory text, and paragraphs 
(h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(v)(B), (h)(3)(i), (h)(3)(ii)(A), (h)(5)(i), and 
(h)(5)(ii)(A) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.53  Overfishing limit (OFL), acceptable biological catch 
(ABC), annual catch limits (ACL), annual catch targets (ACT), DAS 
allocations, and individual fishing quotas (IFQ).

    (a) The following determinations and allocations for the sea 
scallop rotational areas are defined as follows and shall be 
established through the specifications or framework adjustment process:
    (1) OFL. OFL shall be based on an updated scallop resource and 
fishery assessment provided by either the Scallop PDT or a formal stock 
assessment. OFL shall include all sources of scallop mortality and 
shall include an upward adjustment to account for catch of scallops in 
state waters by vessels not issued Federal scallop permits. The fishing 
mortality rate (i.e. F) associated with OFL shall be the threshold F, 
above which overfishing is occurring in the scallop fishery. The F 
associated with OFL shall be used to derive specifications for ABC, 
ACL, and ACT, as defined in paragraph (a) of this section.
    (2) The specification of ABC, ACL, and ACT shall be based upon the 
following overfishing definition: The F shall be set so that in access 
areas, averaged for all years combined over the period of time that the 
area is closed and open to scallop fishing as an access area, it does 
not exceed the established F threshold for the scallop fishery; in open 
areas it shall not exceed the F threshold for the scallop fishery; and 
for access and open areas combined, it is set at a level that has a 75-
percent probability of remaining below the F associated with ABC, as 
defined in

[[Page 76522]]

paragraph (a)(3) of this section, taking into account all sources of 
fishing mortality in the limited access and LAGC fleets of the scallop 
fishery.
    (3) Overall ABC/ACL. The overall ABC for sea scallop fishery shall 
be the catch level that has an associated F that has a 75-percent 
probability of remaining below the F associated with OFL. The overall 
ACL shall be equal to the ABC for the scallop fishery, minus discards 
(an estimate of both incidental and discard mortality). The ABC/ACL, 
after the discards and deductions specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this 
section are removed, shall be divided as sub-ACLs between limited 
access vessels, limited access vessels that are fishing under a LAGC 
permit, and LAGC vessels as defined in paragraphs (a)(5) and (6) of 
this section, after the deductions outlined in paragraph (a)(4) of this 
section.
    (4) Deductions from ABC/ACL. Incidental catch, as defined in 
paragraph (a)(7) of this section, shall be removed from ABC/ACL. One 
percent of ABC/ACL shall be removed from ABC/ACL for observer set-
aside. Scallop catch equal to the value specified in Sec.  648.56(d) 
shall be removed from ABC/ACL for research set-aside. These deductions 
for incidental catch, observer set-aside, and research set-aside, shall 
be made prior to establishing sub-ACLs for the limited access and LAGC 
fleets, as specified in paragraphs (a)(5) and (6) of this section.
    (5) Limited access fleet sub-ACL and sub-ACT--(i) Limited access 
fleet sub-ACL. After applying the deductions as specified in paragraph 
(a)(4) of this section, the limited access scallop fleet shall be 
allocated a sub-ACL equal to 94.5 percent of the ABC/ACL.
    (ii) Limited access fleet sub-ACT. The ACT for the limited access 
fishery shall be set at a level that has an associated F with a 75-
percent probability of remaining below the F associated with ABC/ACL.
    (6) LAGC IFQ fleet sub-ACL and sub-ACT--(i) LAGC IFQ fleet sub-ACL. 
After applying the deductions as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this 
section, the LAGC IFQ fleet shall be allocated a sub-ACL equal to 5.5 
percent of the ABC/ACL, so that 5 percent of ABC/ACL is allocated to 
the LAGC fleet of vessels that do not also have a limited access 
scallop permit, and 0.5 percent of the ABC/ACL is allocated to the LAGC 
fleet of vessels that have limited access scallop permits. This 
specification of sub-ACLs shall not account for catch reductions 
associated with the application of AMs or adjustment of the sub-ACL as 
a result of the limited access AM exception as specified in paragraph 
(c)(1) of this section.
    (ii) LAGC IFQ fleet sub-ACT. The LAGC IFQ fishery sub-ACT shall be 
equal to the LAGC IFQ fishery's sub-ACL. The sub-ACT for the LAGC IFQ 
fishery for vessels issued only a LAGC IFQ scallop permit shall be 
equal to 5 percent of the ABC/ACL specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this 
section, after applying the deductions as specified in paragraph (a)(4) 
of this section. The sub-ACT for the LAGC IFQ fishery for vessels 
issued both a LAGC IFQ scallop permit and a limited access scallop 
permit shall be 0.5 percent of the ACL specified in paragraph (a)(3) of 
this section, after applying the deductions as specified in paragraph 
(a)(4) of this section.
    (7) Scallop incidental catch target TAC. The annual incidental 
catch target TAC is the catch available for harvest for vessels with 
incidental catch scallop permits. This incidental catch target will be 
removed from the ABC/ACL defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section 
prior to establishing the limited access and LAGC IFQ sub-ACLs and sub-
ACTs defined in paragraphs (a)(5) and (6) of this section.
    (8) The following catch limits will be effective for the 2016 and 
2017 fishing years:

                      Scallop Fishery Catch Limits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Catch limits                  2016  (mt)     2017  (mt) *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Overfishing Limit.......................          68,418          68,418
Acceptable Biological Catch/ACL                   37,852          37,852
 (discards removed).....................
Incidental Catch........................              23              23
Research Set-Aside (RSA)................             567             567
Observer Set-Aside......................             379             379
ACL for fishery.........................          36,884          36,884
Limited Access ACL......................          34,855          34,855
LAGC ACL................................           2,029           2,029
LAGC IFQ................................           1,845           1,845
Limited Access with LAGC IFQ............             184             184
Limited Access ACT......................          18,290          18,290
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The catch limits for the 2017 fishing year are subject to change
  through a future specifications action or framework adjustment.

    (b) DAS specifications and allocations. DAS specifications and 
allocations for limited access scallop trips in open areas are defined 
as follows and shall be specified through the specifications or 
framework adjustment processes defined in Sec.  648.55, as follows:
    (1) DAS allocations. DAS allocations shall be determined by 
distributing the portion of the limited access ACT defined in paragraph 
(a)(3) of this section, as reduced by access area allocations defined 
in Sec.  648.59, and dividing that amount among vessels in the form of 
DAS calculated by applying estimates of open area landings per unit 
effort (LPUE) projected through the specifications or framework 
adjustment processes used to set annual allocations.
    (2) Assignment to DAS categories--(i) Limited access vessels shall 
be categorized as full-time, part-time, or occasional. Allocations for 
part-time and occasional scallop vessels shall be 40 percent and 8.33 
percent of the full-time DAS allocations, respectively.
    (ii) Subject to the vessel permit application requirements 
specified in Sec.  648.4, for each fishing year, each vessel issued a 
limited access scallop permit shall be assigned to the DAS category 
(full-time, part-time, or occasional) it was assigned to in the 
preceding year, except as provided under the small dredge program 
specified in Sec.  648.51(e).
    (3) The DAS allocations for limited access scallop vessels for 
fishing years 2016 and 2017 are as follows:

[[Page 76523]]



                    Scallop Open Area DAS Allocations
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Permit  category                      2016      2017 *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Full-Time.........................................      34.55      34.55
Part-Time.........................................      13.82      13.82
Occasional........................................       2.88       2.88
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The DAS allocations for the 2017 fishing year are subject to change
  through a future specifications action or framework adjustment.

    (c) Accountability measures (AM) for limited access vessels. Unless 
the limited access AM exception is implemented in accordance with the 
provision specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, if the limited 
access sub-ACL defined in paragraph (a)(5) of this section is exceeded 
for the applicable fishing year, the DAS for each limited access vessel 
shall be reduced by an amount equal to the amount of landings in excess 
of the sub-ACL divided by the applicable LPUE for the fishing year in 
which the AM will apply as projected by the specifications or framework 
adjustment process specified in Sec.  648.55, then divided by the 
number of scallop vessels eligible to be issued a full-time limited 
access scallop permit. For example, assuming a 300,000-lb (136-mt) 
overage of the limited access fishery's sub-ACL in 2011, an open area 
LPUE of 2,500 lb (1.13 mt) per DAS in 2012, and 313 full-time vessels, 
each full-time vessel's DAS for 2012 would be reduced by 0.38 DAS 
(300,000 lb (136 mt)/2,500 lb (1.13 mt) per DAS = 120 lb (0.05 mt) per 
DAS/313 vessels = 0.38 DAS per vessel). Deductions in DAS for part-time 
and occasional scallop vessels shall be 40 percent and 8.33 percent of 
the full-time DAS deduction, respectively, as calculated pursuant to 
paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The AM shall take effect in the 
fishing year following the fishing year in which the overage occurred. 
For example, landings in excess of the limited access fishery's sub-ACL 
in fishing year 2011 would result in the DAS reduction AM in fishing 
year 2012. If the AM takes effect, and a limited access vessel uses 
more open area DAS in the fishing year in which the AM is applied, the 
vessel shall have the DAS used in excess of the allocation after 
applying the AM deducted from its open area DAS allocation in the 
subsequent fishing year. For example, a vessel initially allocated 32 
DAS in 2011 uses all 32 DAS prior to application of the AM. If, after 
application of the AM, the vessel's DAS allocation is reduced to 31 
DAS, the vessel's DAS in 2012 would be reduced by 1 DAS.
    (1) Limited access AM exception. If NMFS determines that the 
fishing mortality rate associated with the limited access fleet's 
landings in a fishing year is less than 0.34, the AM specified in 
paragraph (c) of this section shall not take effect. The fishing 
mortality rate of 0.34 is the fishing mortality rate that is one 
standard deviation below the fishing mortality rate for the scallop 
fishery ACL, currently estimated at 0.38.
    (2) Limited access fleet AM and exception provision timing. The 
Regional Administrator shall determine whether the limited access fleet 
exceeded its sub-ACL defined in paragraph (a)(5) of this section by 
July of the fishing year following the year for which landings are 
being evaluated. On or about July 1, the Regional Administrator shall 
notify the New England Fishery Management Council of the determination 
of whether or not the sub-ACL for the limited access fleet was 
exceeded, and the amount of landings in excess of the sub-ACL. Upon 
this notification, the Scallop Plan Development Team (PDT) shall 
evaluate the overage and determine if the fishing mortality rate 
associated with total landings by the limited access scallop fleet is 
less than 0.34. On or about September 1 of each year, the Scallop PDT 
shall notify the Council of its determination, and the Council, on or 
about September 30, shall make a recommendation, based on the Scallop 
PDT findings, concerning whether to invoke the limited access AM 
exception. If NMFS concurs with the Scallop PDT's recommendation to 
invoke the limited access AM exception, in accordance with the APA, the 
limited access AM shall not be implemented. If NMFS does not concur, in 
accordance with the APA, the limited access AM shall be implemented as 
soon as possible after September 30 each year.
    (d) End-of-year carry-over for open area DAS. With the exception of 
vessels that held a Confirmation of Permit History as described in 
Sec.  648.4(a)(2)(i)(J) for the entire fishing year preceding the 
carry-over year, limited access vessels that have unused open area DAS 
on the last day of February of any year may carry over a maximum of 10 
DAS, not to exceed the total open area DAS allocation by permit 
category, into the next year. DAS carried over into the next fishing 
year may only be used in open areas. Carry-over DAS are accounted for 
in setting the sub-ACT for the limited access fleet, as defined in 
paragraph (a)(5)(ii) of this section. Therefore, if carry-over DAS 
result or contribute to an overage of the ACL, the limited access fleet 
AM specified in paragraph (c) of this section would still apply, 
provided the AM exception specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section 
is not invoked.
    (e) Accrual of DAS. All DAS fished shall be charged to the nearest 
minute. A vessel carrying an observer and authorized to be charged 
fewer DAS in Open Areas based on the total available DAS set aside 
under paragraph (g) of this section shall be charged at a reduced rate 
as specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this section.
* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (1) To help defray the cost of carrying an observer, 1 percent of 
the ABC/ACL defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section shall be set 
aside to be used by vessels that are assigned to take an at-sea 
observer on a trip. This observer set-aside is specified through the 
specifications or framework adjustment process defined in Sec.  648.55.
* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (2) Calculation of IFQ. The ACL allocated to IFQ scallop vessels, 
and the ACL allocated to limited access scallop vessels issued IFQ 
scallop permits, as defined in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, shall 
be used to determine the IFQ of each vessel issued an IFQ scallop 
permit. Each fishing year, the Regional Administrator shall provide the 
owner of a vessel issued an IFQ scallop permit issued pursuant to Sec.  
648.4(a)(2)(ii) with the scallop IFQ for the vessel for the upcoming 
fishing year.
    (i) Individual fishing quota. The IFQ for an IFQ scallop vessel 
shall be the vessel's contribution percentage as specified in paragraph 
(h)(2)(iii) of this section and determined using the steps specified in 
paragraphs (h)(2)(ii) of this section, multiplied by the ACL allocated 
to the IFQ scallop fishery, or limited access vessels issued an IFQ 
scallop permit, as defined in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.
* * * * *
    (v) * * *
    (B) For accounting purposes, the combined total of all vessels' IFQ 
carry-over shall be added to the LAGC IFQ fleet's applicable sub-ACL 
for the carry-over year. Any IFQ carried over that is landed in the 
carry-over fishing year shall be counted against the sub-ACL defined in 
paragraph (a)(6) of this section, as increased by the total carry-over 
for all LAGC IFQ vessels, as specified in this paragraph (h)(2)(v)(B). 
IFQ carry-over shall not be applicable to the calculation of the IFQ 
cap specified in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section and the ownership 
cap specified in paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section.
* * * * *
    (3) * * *

[[Page 76524]]

    (i) IFQ scallop vessel IFQ cap. (A) Unless otherwise specified in 
paragraphs (h)(3)(i)(B) and (C) of this section, a vessel issued an IFQ 
scallop permit or confirmation of permit history shall not be issued 
more than 2.5 percent of the sub-ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop 
vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section.
    (B) A vessel may be initially issued more than 2.5 percent of the 
sub-ACL allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph 
(a)(6) of this section, if the initial determination of its 
contribution factor specified in accordance with Sec.  
648.4(a)(2)(ii)(E) and paragraph (h)(2)(ii) of this section, results in 
an IFQ that exceeds 2.5 percent of the sub-ACL allocated to the IFQ 
scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) of this section. A 
vessel that is allocated an IFQ that exceeds 2.5 percent of the sub-ACL 
allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) 
of this section, in accordance with this paragraph (h)(3)(i)(B), may 
not receive IFQ through an IFQ transfer, as specified in paragraph 
(h)(5) of this section. All scallops that have been allocated as part 
of the original IFQ allocation or transferred to a vessel during a 
given fishing year shall be counted towards the vessel cap.
    (C) A vessel initially issued a 2008 IFQ scallop permit or 
confirmation of permit history, or that was issued or renewed a limited 
access scallop permit or confirmation of permit history for a vessel in 
2009 and thereafter, in compliance with the ownership restrictions in 
paragraph (h)(3)(i)(A) of this section, is eligible to renew such 
permit(s) and/or confirmation(s) of permit history, regardless of 
whether the renewal of the permit or confirmations of permit history 
will result in the 2.5-percent IFQ cap restriction being exceeded.
    (ii) * * *
    (A) For any vessel acquired after June 1, 2008, a vessel owner is 
not eligible to be issued an IFQ scallop permit for the vessel, and/or 
a confirmation of permit history, and is not eligible to transfer IFQ 
to the vessel, if, as a result of the issuance of the permit and/or 
confirmation of permit history, or IFQ transfer, the vessel owner, or 
any other person who is a shareholder or partner of the vessel owner, 
will have an ownership interest in more than 5 percent of the sub-ACL 
allocated to the IFQ scallop vessels as described in paragraph (a)(6) 
of this section.
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (i) Temporary IFQ transfers. Subject to the restrictions in 
paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section, the owner of an IFQ scallop 
vessel (and/or IFQ scallop permit in confirmation of permit history) 
not issued a limited access scallop permit may temporarily transfer 
(e.g., lease) its entire IFQ allocation, or a portion of its IFQ 
allocation, to another IFQ scallop vessel. Temporary IFQ transfers 
shall be effective only for the fishing year in which the temporary 
transfer is requested and processed. IFQ, once temporarily transferred, 
cannot be temporarily transferred again to another vessel. IFQ can be 
temporarily transferred more than once (i.e., re-transferred). For 
example, if a vessel temporarily transfers IFQ to a vessel, the 
transferee vessel may re-transfer any portion of that IFQ to another 
vessel. There is no limit on how many times IFQ can be re-transferred 
in a fishing year. The Regional Administrator has final approval 
authority for all temporary IFQ transfer requests.
    (ii) * * *
    (A) Subject to the restrictions in paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this 
section, the owner of an IFQ scallop vessel (and/or IFQ scallop permit 
in confirmation of permit history) not issued a limited access scallop 
permit may transfer IFQ permanently to or from another IFQ scallop 
vessel. Any such transfer cannot be limited in duration and is 
permanent as to the transferee, unless the IFQ is subsequently 
permanently transferred to another IFQ scallop vessel. IFQ may be 
permanently transferred to a vessel and then be re-transferred 
(temporarily transferred (i.e., leased) or permanently transferred) by 
such vessel to another vessel in the same fishing year. There is no 
limit on how many times IFQ can be re-transferred in a fishing year.
* * * * *

0
8. In Sec.  648.54, revise paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.54  State waters exemption.

* * * * *
    (e) Notification requirements. Vessels fishing under the exemptions 
specified in paragraph (b), (c) and/or (d) of this section must notify 
the Regional Administrator in accordance with the provisions of Sec.  
648.10(f).
* * * * *

0
9. Amend Sec.  648.55 by:
0
a. Revising the section heading and paragraph (a);
0
b. Removing and reserving paragraph (b);
0
c. Revising paragraph (c);
0
d. Removing and reserving paragraph (e); and
0
e. Revising paragraph (f) introductory text and paragraph (f)(38).
    The revisions read as follows:


Sec.  648.55  Specifications and framework adjustments to management 
measures.

    (a) Specifications. (1) The Scallop Plan Development Team (PDT) 
shall meet at least every two years to assess the status of the scallop 
resource and to develop and recommend the following specifications for 
a period of up to 2 years, as well as second or third-year default 
measures, for consideration by the New England Fishery Management 
Council's Atlantic Sea Scallop Oversight Committee and Advisory Panel: 
OFL, overall ABC/ACL, sub-ACLs, sub-ACTs, DAS open area allocations, 
possession limits, modifications to rotational area management (e.g., 
schedule, rotational closures and openings, seasonal restrictions, 
modifications to boundaries, etc.), access area limited access poundage 
allocations and LAGC IFQ fleet-wide trip allocations, annual incidental 
catch target TAC, and NGOM TAC.
    (2) Based on the PDT recommendations and any public comments 
received, the Atlantic Sea Scallop Oversight Committee shall recommend 
appropriate specifications to the New England Fishery Management 
Council.
    (3) The Council shall review these recommendations and, after 
considering public comments, shall recommend appropriate specifications 
for up to 2 years, as well as second or third-year default measures, to 
NMFS. NMFS shall approve, disapprove, or partially approve the 
specifications recommended by the Council and publish the approved 
specifications in the Federal Register in accordance with the APA.
    (4) The PDT shall prepare a Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation 
(SAFE) Report at least every two years that provides the information 
and analysis needed to evaluate potential management adjustments. The 
preparation of the SAFE Report shall begin on or about June 1 of the 
year preceding the fishing year in which measures will be adjusted.
    (5) The PDT will meet at least once during the interim years to 
review the status of the stock relative to the overfishing definition 
if information is available to do so. If the Council determines, based 
on information provided by the PDT or other stock-related information, 
that the approved specifications should be adjusted during the 2-year 
time period, it can do so through the same process outlined in 
paragraphs (a)(2) through (a)(4) of this section during the interim 
year.
    (6) Rotational area management guidelines. The Council's 
development of rotational area management

[[Page 76525]]

adjustments shall take into account at least the following factors: 
General rotation policy; boundaries and distribution of rotational 
closures; number of closures; minimum closure size; maximum closure 
extent; enforceability of rotational closed and re-opened areas; 
monitoring through resource surveys; and re-opening criteria. 
Rotational closures should be considered where projected annual change 
in scallop biomass is greater than 30 percent. Areas should be 
considered for Sea Scallop Rotational Areas where the projected annual 
change in scallop biomass is less than 15 percent.
    (7) Second and Third-year default specifications. The 
specifications action shall include default specifications that shall 
be effective in the second year after 1-year specifications and the 
third year after the 2-year specifications expire until replaced by the 
measures included in the next specifications action. If the 
specifications action is not published in the Federal Register with an 
effective date on or before April 1, the following year's default 
specifications shall be effective beginning April 1 of each fishing 
year until any new specifications action is implemented and made 
effective during the second or third year, or for the entire fishing 
year if the specifications action is not completed or is not 
implemented by NMFS during the following year. The specifications 
action shall specify the measures necessary to address inconsistencies 
between specifications and default allocations for the period after 
April 1 but before the specifications action is implemented for that 
year. The default specifications, if implemented, shall remain in 
effect until they are revised through a subsequent specifications 
action.
    (b) [Reserved]
    (c) OFL, overall ABC/ACL, sub-ACLs, and sub-ACTs. The Council shall 
specify OFL, ABC, ACL, and ACT, as defined in Sec.  648.53, for each 
year covered under the specifications.
* * * * *
    (e) Reserved]
    (f) Framework adjustments. The Council may at any time initiate a 
framework adjustment to add or adjust management measures within the 
Scallop FMP if it finds that action is necessary to meet or be 
consistent with the goals and objectives of the FMP. The Council shall 
develop and analyze appropriate management actions over the span of at 
least two Council meetings. To address interactions between the scallop 
fishery and sea turtles and other protected species, such adjustments 
may include proactive measures including, but not limited to, the 
timing of Sea Scallop Access Area openings, seasonal closures, gear 
modifications, increased observer coverage, and additional research. 
The Council shall provide the public with advance notice of the 
availability of both the proposals and the analyses, and opportunity to 
comment on them prior to and at the second Council meeting. The 
Council's recommendation on adjustments or additions to management 
measures may include specifications measures specified in paragraph (a) 
of this section, which must satisfy the criteria set forth Sec.  
648.53(a) in order to prevent overfishing of the available biomass of 
scallops and ensure that OY is achieved on a continuing basis. Other 
measures that may be changed or implemented through framework action 
include:
* * * * *
    (38) Adjustments to aspects of ACL management, including 
accountability measures;
* * * * *

0
10. In Sec.  648.56, revise paragraphs (a), (d), (f), and (g) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  648.56  Scallop research.

    (a) At least biennially, in association with the biennial framework 
process, the Council and NMFS shall prepare and issue an announcement 
of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) that identifies research 
priorities for projects to be conducted by vessels using research set-
aside as specified in paragraph (d) of this section and Sec.  
648.59(e), provides requirements and instructions for applying for 
funding of a proposed RSA project, and specifies the date by which 
applications must be received. The FFO shall be published as soon as 
possible by NMFS and shall provide the opportunity for applicants to 
apply for projects to be awarded for 1 or 2 years by allowing 
applicants to apply for RSA funding for the first year, second year, or 
both.
* * * * *
    (d) Available RSA allocation shall be 1.25 million lb (567 mt) 
annually, which shall be deducted from the ABC/ACL specified in Sec.  
648.53(a) prior to setting ACLs for the limited access and LAGC fleets, 
as specified in Sec.  648.53(a)(3) and (4), respectively. Approved RSA 
projects shall be allocated an amount of scallop pounds that can be 
harvested in open areas and available access areas. The specific access 
areas that are open to RSA harvest shall be specified through the 
framework process as identified in Sec.  648.59(e)(1). In a year in 
which a framework adjustment is under review by the Council and/or 
NMFS, NMFS shall make RSA awards prior to approval of the framework, if 
practicable, based on total scallop pounds needed to fund each research 
project. Recipients may begin compensation fishing in open areas prior 
to approval of the framework, or wait until NMFS approval of the 
framework to begin compensation fishing within approved access areas
* * * * *
    (f) If all RSA pounds awarded to a project cannot be harvested 
during the applicable fishing year, RSA TAC awarded to that project may 
be harvested through June 30 of the fishing year subsequent to the 
fishing year in which the set-aside is awarded.
    (g) Vessels conducting research under an approved RSA project may 
be exempt from crew restrictions specified in Sec.  648.51, seasonal 
closures of access areas specified in Sec.  648.60, and the restriction 
on fishing in only one access area during a trip specified in Sec.  
648.59(b)(4). The RSA project proposal must list which of these 
measures for which an exemption is required. An exemption shall be 
provided by Letter of Authorization issued by the Regional 
Administrator. RSA compensation fishing trips and combined compensation 
and research trips are not eligible for these exemptions.
* * * * *


Sec.  648.57  [Removed and reserved]

0
11. Remove and reserve Sec.  648.57.


Sec.  648.58  [Removed and reserved]

0
12. Remove and reserve Sec.  648.58.

0
13. Revise Sec.  648.59 to read as follows:


Sec.  648.59  Sea Scallop Rotational Area Management Program and Access 
Area Program requirements.

    (a) The Sea Scallop Rotational Area Management Program consists of 
Scallop Rotational Areas, as defined in Sec.  648.2. Guidelines for 
this area rotation program (i.e., when to close an area and reopen it 
to scallop fishing) are provided in Sec.  648.55(a)(6). Whether a 
rotational area is open or closed to scallop fishing in a given year, 
and the appropriate level of access by limited access and LAGC IFQ 
vessels, are specified through the specifications or framework 
adjustment processes defined in Sec.  648.55. When a rotational area is 
open to the scallop fishery, it is called an Access Area and scallop 
vessels fishing in the area are subject to the Access Area Program 
Requirements specified in this section. Areas not defined as Scallop 
Rotational Areas specified in Sec.  648.60, EFH Closed Areas

[[Page 76526]]

specified in Sec.  648.61, or areas closed to scallop fishing under 
other FMPs, are governed by other management measures and restrictions 
in this part and are referred to as Open Areas.
    (1) When a Scallop Rotational Area is closed to scallop fishing, a 
vessel issued any scallop permit may not fish for, possess, or land 
scallops in or from the area unless the vessel is transiting pursuant 
to paragraph (a)(2) of this section. A vessel may fish for species 
other than scallops within the rotational closed areas, provided the 
vessel does not fish for, catch, or retain scallops or intend to fish 
for, catch, or retain scallops. When a Scallop Rotational Area is open 
to scallop fishing (henceforth referred to as an Access Area), a 
scallop vessel may not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from 
the area unless it is participating in, and complies with the 
requirements of, the Scallop Access Area Program Requirements defined 
in paragraphs (b) through (g) of this section or the vessel is 
transiting pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section.
    (2) Transiting a Closed Scallop Rotational Area. No vessel 
possessing scallops may enter or be in the area(s) specified in this 
section when those areas are closed, as specified through the 
specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in Sec.  
648.55, unless the vessel is transiting the area and the vessel's 
fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined 
in Sec.  648.2, or there is a compelling safety reason to be in such 
areas without such gear being stowed. A vessel may only transit the 
Closed Area II Scallop Rotational Area or the Closed Area II Extension 
Scallop Rotational Area, as defined Sec.  648.60(d) and (e), 
respectively, or the Elephant Trunk Closed Area, as defined in Sec.  
648.60(b), if there is a compelling safety reason for transiting the 
area and the vessel's fishing gear is stowed and not available for 
immediate use as defined in Sec.  648.2.
    (3) Transiting a Scallop Access Area. Any sea scallop vessel that 
has not declared a trip into the Scallop Area Access Program may enter 
a Scallop Access Area, and possess scallops not caught in the Scallop 
Access Areas, for transiting purposes only, provided the vessel's 
fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined 
in Sec.  648.2. Any scallop vessel that has declared a trip into the 
Scallop Area Access Program may not enter or be in another Scallop 
Access Area on the same trip except such vessel may transit another 
Scallop Access Area provided its gear is stowed and not available for 
immediate use as defined in Sec.  648.2, or there is a compelling 
safety reason to be in such areas without such gear being stowed. A 
vessel may only transit the Closed Area II Scallop Rotational Area or 
the Closed Area II Extension Scallop Rotational Area, as defined in 
Sec.  648.60(d) and (e), respectively, or the Elephant Trunk Closed 
Area, as defined in Sec.  648.60(b) if there is a compelling safety 
reason for transiting the area and the vessel's fishing gear is stowed 
and not available for immediate use as defined in Sec.  648.2.
    (b) A limited access scallop vessel may only fish in the Scallop 
Rotational Areas, defined in Sec.  648.60, when the areas are open 
(i.e., Access Areas), as specified through the specifications or 
framework adjustment processes defined in Sec.  648.55, subject to any 
additional restrictions specified in Sec.  648.60, provided the vessel 
complies with the requirements specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through 
(b)(9), and (c) through (f) of this section. An LAGC scallop vessel may 
fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas, defined in Sec.  648.60, when the 
areas are open (i.e., Access Areas), as specified through the 
specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in Sec.  
648.55, subject to any additional requirements specified in Sec.  
648.60, provided the vessel complies with the requirements specified in 
paragraph (g) of this section.
    (1) VMS. Each vessel participating in the Scallop Access Area 
Program must have installed on board an operational VMS unit that meets 
the minimum performance criteria specified in Sec. Sec.  648.9 and 
648.10, and paragraphs (b)(9) and (f) of this section.
    (2) Vessels participating in the Scallop Access Area Program must 
comply with the trip declaration requirements specified in Sec.  
648.10(f) and vessel notification requirements specified in Sec.  
648.11(g) for observer deployment.
    (3) Scallop Access Area Allocations--(i) Limited access vessel 
allocations and possession limits. (A) Except as provided in paragraph 
(c) of this section, the specifications or framework adjustment 
processes defined in Sec.  648.55 determine the total amount of 
scallops, in weight, that a limited access scallop vessel may harvest 
from Scallop Access Areas during applicable seasons specified in Sec.  
648.60. A vessel may not possess or land in excess of its scallop 
allocation assigned to specific Scallop Access Areas, unless authorized 
by the Regional Administrator, as specified in paragraph (d) of this 
section, unless the vessel owner has exchanged an area-specific scallop 
allocation with another vessel owner for additional scallop allocation 
in that area, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. A 
vessel may harvest its scallop allocation on any number of trips in a 
given fishing year, provided that no single trip exceeds the possession 
limits specified in the specifications or framework adjustment 
processes defined in Sec.  648.55, unless authorized by the Regional 
Administrator, as specified in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. 
No vessel declared into the Scallop Access Areas may possess more than 
50 bu (17.62 hL) of in-shell scallops outside of the Scallop Rotational 
Area boundaries defined in Sec.  648.60.
    (B) The following access area allocations and possession limits for 
limited access vessels will be effective for the 2016 and 2017 fishing 
years:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                               Permit category
         Fishing  year               Access area                                   ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         Full-time           Part-time               Occasional
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2016...........................  Mid-Atlantic        Allocation...................  51,000 lb (23,133   20,400 lb (9,253    4,250 lb (1,928 kg).
                                  Access Area.       Possession limit.............   kg).                kg).               1,420 lb (644 kg).
                                                                                    17,000 lb (57,711   10,200 lb (4,627
                                                                                     kg).                kg).
2017 *.........................  Mid-Atlantic        Allocation...................  17,000 lb (57,711   10,200 lb (4,627    1,420 lb (644 kg).
                                  Access Area.       Possession limit.............   kg).                kg).               1,420 lb (644 kg).
                                                                                    17,000 lb (57,711   10,200 lb (4,627
                                                                                     kg).                kg).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The limited access fishery's access area allocations and possession limits for the 2017 fishing year are subject to change through a future
  specifications action or framework adjustment.

    (ii) Limited access vessels' one-for-one area access allocation 
exchanges. The owner of a vessel issued a limited access scallop permit 
may exchange unharvested scallop pounds allocated into one access area 
for another vessel's unharvested scallop pounds allocated into another 
Scallop Access Area. These exchanges may only be made for the

[[Page 76527]]

amount of the current trip possession limit, as specified in paragraph 
(b)(3)(i)(B) of this section. For example, if the access area trip 
possession limit for full-time vessels is 17,000 lb (7,711 kg), a full-
time vessel may exchange no less than 17,000 lb (7,711 kg), from one 
access area for no more or less than 17,000 lb (7,711 kg) allocated to 
another vessel for another access area. In addition, these exchanges 
may be made only between vessels with the same permit category: A full-
time vessel may not exchange allocations with a part-time vessel, and 
vice versa. Vessel owners must request these exchanges by submitting a 
completed Access Area Allocation Exchange Form at least 15 days before 
the date on which the applicant desires the exchange to be effective. 
Exchange forms are available from the Regional Administrator upon 
request. Each vessel owner involved in an exchange is required to 
submit a completed Access Area Allocation Form. The Regional 
Administrator shall review the records for each vessel to confirm that 
each vessel has enough unharvested allocation remaining in a given 
access area to exchange. The exchange is not effective until the vessel 
owner(s) receive a confirmation in writing from the Regional 
Administrator that the allocation exchange has been made effective. A 
vessel owner may exchange equal allocations up to the current 
possession limit between two or more vessels under his/her ownership. A 
vessel owner holding a Confirmation of Permit History is not eligible 
to exchange allocations between another vessel and the vessel for which 
a Confirmation of Permit History has been issued.
    (4) Area fished. While on a Scallop Access Area trip, a vessel may 
not fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from areas outside the 
Scallop Access Area in which the vessel operator has declared the 
vessel will fish during that trip, and may not enter or exit the 
specific declared Scallop Access Area more than once per trip. A vessel 
on a Scallop Access Area trip may not enter or be in another Scallop 
Access Area on the same trip except such vessel may transit another 
Scallop Access Area as provided for under paragraph (a)(3) of this 
section.
    (5) NE multispecies possession limits--(i) Maximum possession limit 
of NE Multispecies combined. A vessel owner or operator of a limited 
access scallop vessel issued a valid NE multispecies permit as 
specified in Sec.  648.4(a)(1), that has declared into a Scallop Access 
Area and fishes within the open Scallop Rotational Area boundaries 
defined in Sec.  648.60, may fish for, possess, and land, per trip, up 
to a maximum of 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) of all NE multispecies combined, 
excluding yellowtail flounder, subject to the minimum commercial fish 
size restrictions specified in Sec.  648.83(a)(1), and the additional 
restrictions for Atlantic cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder 
specified in paragraphs (b)(5)(ii) through (iv) of this section.
    (ii) Atlantic cod. Such vessel may bring onboard and possess only 
up to 100 lb (45.4 kg) of Atlantic cod per trip, provided such fish is 
intended for personal use only and cannot be not sold, traded, or 
bartered.
    (iii) Haddock. Such vessel may possess and land haddock up to the 
overall possession limit of all NE multispecies combined, as specified 
in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section, except that such vessel are 
prohibited from possessing or landing haddock from January 1 through 
June 30.
    (iv) Yellowtail flounder. Such vessel is prohibited from fishing 
for, possessing, or landing yellowtail flounder.
    (6) Gear restrictions. (i) The minimum ring size for dredge gear 
used by a vessel fishing on a Scallop Access Area trip is 4 inches 
(10.2 cm) in diameter. Dredge or trawl gear used by a vessel fishing on 
a Scallop Access Area trip must be in accordance with the restrictions 
specified in Sec.  648.51(a) and (b).
    (ii) Vessels fishing in the Closed Area I, Closed Area II, Closed 
Area II Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Scallop Rotational Areas 
defined in Sec.  648.60 are prohibited from fishing with trawl gear as 
specified in Sec.  648.51(f)(1).
    (7) Transiting. While outside a Sea Scallop Access Area (i.e., in 
open areas) on a Scallop Access Area trip, the vessel must have all 
fishing gear stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in 
Sec.  648.2, unless there is a compelling safety reason to be 
transiting open areas without gear stowed. Regulations pertaining to 
transiting Scallop Rotational Areas are provided for under paragraph 
(a)(3) of this section.
    (8) Off-loading restrictions. The vessel may not offload its catch 
from a Scallop Access Area trip at more than one location per trip.
    (9) Reporting. The owner or operator must submit scallop catch 
reports through the VMS, as specified in Sec.  648.10(f)(4)(i), and 
limited access scallop access area pre-landing notification forms, as 
specified in Sec.  648.10(f)(4)(iii).
    (c) Scallop Access Area scallop allocation carryover. With the 
exception of vessels that held a Confirmation of Permit History as 
described in Sec.  648.4(a)(2)(i)(J) for the entire fishing year 
preceding the carry-over year, a limited access scallop vessel operator 
may fish any unharvested Scallop Access Area allocation from a given 
fishing year within the first 60 days of the subsequent fishing year if 
the Scallop Access Area is open, unless otherwise specified in this 
section. For example, if a full-time vessel has 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) 
remaining in the Mid-Atlantic Access Area at the end of fishing year 
2016, that vessel may harvest 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) from its 2017 fishing 
year scallop access area allocation during the first 60 days that the 
Mid-Atlantic Access Area is open in fishing year 2017 (March 1, 2017, 
through April 29, 2018). Unless otherwise specified through the 
specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in Sec.  
648.55, if a Scallop Access Area is not open in the subsequent fishing 
year, then the unharvested scallop allocation would expire at the end 
of the fishing year that the scallops were allocated.
    (d) Increase in possession limit to defray costs of observers--The 
Regional Administrator may increase the sea scallop possession limit 
through the specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in 
Sec.  648.55 to defray costs of at-sea observers deployed on area 
access trips subject to the limits specified Sec.  648.53(g). An owner 
of a scallop vessel shall be notified of the increase in the possession 
limit through a permit holder letter issued by the Regional 
Administrator. If the observer set-aside is fully utilized prior to the 
end of the fishing year, the Regional Administrator shall notify owners 
of scallop vessels that, effective on a specified date, the increase in 
the possession limit is no longer available to offset the cost of 
observers. Unless otherwise notified by the Regional Administrator, 
vessel owners shall be responsible for paying the cost of the observer, 
regardless of whether the vessel lands or sells sea scallops on that 
trip, and regardless of the availability of set-aside for an increased 
possession limit.
    (e) Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Harvest in Scallop Access 
Areas.--Unless otherwise specified, RSA may be harvested in any access 
area that is open in a given fishing year, as specified through a 
specifications action or framework adjustment and pursuant to Sec.  
648.56. The amount of scallops that can be harvested in each access 
area by vessels participating in approved RSA projects shall be 
determined through the RSA application review and approval process.

[[Page 76528]]

    (f) VMS polling. For the duration of the Sea Scallop Area Access 
Program, as defined in this section, all sea scallop vessels equipped 
with a VMS unit shall be polled at a minimum of twice per hour, 
regardless of whether the vessel is enrolled in the Sea Scallop Area 
Access Program. Vessel owners shall be responsible for paying the costs 
of polling twice per hour.
    (g) Limited Access General Category vessels. (1) An LAGC scallop 
vessel may only fish in the scallop rotational areas specified in Sec.  
648.60 or in paragraph (g)(3)(iv) of this section, subject to any 
additional restrictions specified in Sec.  648.60, subject to the 
possession limit and access area schedule specified in the 
specifications or framework adjustment processes defined in Sec.  
648.55, provided the vessel complies with the requirements specified in 
paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(6) through (9), (d), (e), (f), and (g) 
of this section. A vessel issued both a NE multispecies permit and an 
LAGC scallop permit may fish in an approved SAP under Sec.  648.85 and 
under multispecies DAS in the Closed Area I, Closed Area II, Closed 
Area II Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Scallop Rotational Areas 
specified in Sec.  648.60, when open, provided the vessel complies with 
the requirements specified in Sec.  648.59 and this paragraph (g), but 
may not fish for, possess, or land scallops on such trips.
    (2) Limited Access General Category Gear restrictions. An LAGC IFQ 
scallop vessel authorized to fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas 
specified in Sec.  648.60 must fish with dredge gear only. The combined 
dredge width in use by, or in possession on board of, an LAGC scallop 
vessel fishing in Closed Area I, Closed Area II, Closed Area II 
Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Access Areas may not exceed 10.5 ft 
(3.2 m). The combined dredge width in use by, or in possession on board 
of, an LAGC scallop vessel fishing in the remaining Scallop Rotational 
Areas defined in Sec.  648.60 may not exceed 31 ft (9.4 m). Dredge 
width is measured at the widest point in the bail of the dredge.
    (3) LAGC IFQ Access Area trips. (i) An LAGC scallop vessel 
authorized to fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas specified in Sec.  
648.60 or in paragraph (g)(3)(iv) of this section may land scallops, 
subject to the possession limit specified in Sec.  648.52(a), unless 
the Regional Administrator has issued a notice that the number of LAGC 
IFQ access area trips have been or are projected to be taken. All LAGC 
IFQ access area trips must be taken in the fishing year that they are 
allocated (i.e., there are no carryover trips). The total number of 
LAGC IFQ trips in an Access Area is specified in the specifications or 
framework adjustment processes defined in Sec.  648.55.
    (ii) Scallops landed by each LAGC IFQ vessel on an access area trip 
shall count against the vessel's IFQ.
    (iii) Upon a determination from the Regional Administrator that the 
total number of LAGC IFQ trips in a specified Access Area have been or 
are projected to be taken, the Regional Administrator shall publish 
notification of this determination in the Federal Register, in 
accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. Once this 
determination has been made, an LAGC IFQ scallop vessel may not fish 
for, possess, or land scallops in or from the specified Access Area 
after the effective date of the notification published in the Federal 
Register.
    (iv) Nantucket Lightship North Sea Scallop Access Area. (A) From 
March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2018 (i.e., fishing years 2016 and 
2017), a vessel issued an LAGC IFQ scallop permit may not fish for, 
possess, or land scallops in or from the area known as the Nantucket 
Lightship North Access Area, defined in paragraph (g)(3)(iv)(B) of this 
section, unless the vessel is participating in, and complying with the 
requirements of, the area access program defined in this section or the 
vessel is transiting pursuant to Sec.  648.59(a)(3).
    (B) The Nantucket Lightship North Sea Scallop Access Area is 
defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order 
stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the 
Regional Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
NLNAA1...........................  40[deg]50' N        69[deg]00' W.
NLNAA2...........................  40[deg]30' N        69[deg]00' W.
NLNAA3...........................  40[deg]30' N        69[deg]30' W.
NLNAA4...........................  40[deg]50' N        69[deg]30' W.
NLNAA1...........................  40[deg]50' N        69[deg]00' W.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (v) The following LAGC IFQ access area allocations will be 
effective for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Scallop rotational area                   2016    2017 *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mid-Atlantic Access Area..............................    2,068      602
Nantucket Lightship North.............................      485        0
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The LAGC IFQ access area trip allocations for the 2017 fishing year
  are subject to change through a future specifications action or
  framework adjustment.

    (4) Possession limits--(i) Scallops. A vessel issued a NE 
multispecies permit and a general category scallop permit that is 
fishing in an approved SAP under Sec.  648.85 under multispecies DAS, 
and that has not declared into the Scallop Access Area Program, is 
prohibited from possessing scallops. An LAGC scallop vessel authorized 
to fish in the Scallop Rotational Areas specified in Sec.  648.60 may 
possess scallops up to the possession limit specified in Sec.  
648.52(a).
    (ii) Other species. Unless issued an LAGC scallop permit and 
fishing under an approved NE multispecies SAP under NE multispecies 
DAS, an LAGC IFQ vessel fishing in the Closed Area I, Closed Area II, 
Closed Area II Extension, and Nantucket Lightship Rotational Areas 
specified in Sec.  648.60, and the Nantucket Lightship North Sea 
Scallop Access Area specified in paragraph (g)(3)(iv) of this section 
is prohibited from possessing any species of fish other than scallops 
and monkfish, as specified in Sec.  648.94(c)(8)(i). Such a vessel may 
fish in an approved SAP under Sec.  648.85 and under multispecies DAS 
in the scallop access area, provided that it has not declared into the 
Scallop Access Area Program. Such a vessel is prohibited from fishing 
for, possessing, or landing scallops.

0
14. Revise Sec.  648.60 to read as follows:


Sec.  648.60  Sea Scallop Rotational Areas.

    (a) Mid-Atlantic Scallop Rotational Area. (1) The Mid-Atlantic 
Scallop Rotational Area is comprised of the following scallop access 
areas: The Delmarva Scallop Rotational Area, as defined in paragraph 
(a)(2) of this section; the Elephant Trunk Scallop Rotational Area, as 
defined in paragraph (a)(3) of this section; and the Hudson Canyon 
Scallop Rotational Area, as defined in paragraph (a)(4) of this 
section.
    (2) Delmarva Scallop Rotational Area. The Delmarva Scallop 
Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the following 
points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are 
available from the Regional Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
DMV1.............................  38[deg]10' N        74[deg]50' W.
DMV2.............................  38[deg]10' N        74[deg]00' W.
DMV3.............................  37[deg]15' N        74[deg]00' W.
DMV4.............................  37[deg]15' N        74[deg]50' W.
DMV1.............................  38[deg]10' N        74[deg]50' W.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) Elephant Trunk Scallop Rotational Area. The Elephant Trunk 
Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the 
following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this 
area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
ETAA1............................  38[deg]30' N        74[deg]20' W.

[[Page 76529]]

 
ETAA2............................  38[deg]30' N        73[deg]50' W.
ETAA3............................  38[deg]40' N        73[deg]50' W.
ETAA4............................  38[deg]40' N        73[deg]40' W.
ETAA5............................  38[deg]50' N        73[deg]40' W.
ETAA6............................  38[deg]50' N        73[deg]30' W.
ETAA7............................  38[deg]10' N        73[deg]30' W.
ETAA8............................  38[deg]10' N        74[deg]20' W.
ETAA1............................  38[deg]30' N        74[deg]20' W.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) Hudson Canyon Scallop Rotational Area. The Hudson Canyon 
Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the 
following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this 
area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
H1...............................  39[deg]30' N        73[deg]10' W.
H2...............................  39[deg]30' N        72[deg]30' W.
H3...............................  38[deg]30' N        73[deg]30' W.
H4...............................  38[deg]50' N        73[deg]30' W.
H5...............................  38[deg]50' N        73[deg]42' W.
H1...............................  39[deg]30' N        73[deg]10' W.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) Elephant Trunk Closed Area. The Elephant Trunk Closed Area is 
defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order 
stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the 
Regional Administrator upon request).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
ETCA 1...........................  38[deg]50' N        74[deg]20' W.
ETCA 2...........................  38[deg]50' N        73[deg]40' W.
ETCA 3...........................  38[deg]40' N        73[deg]40' W.
ETCA 4...........................  38[deg]40' N        73[deg]50' W.
ETCA 5...........................  38[deg]30' N        73[deg]50' W.
ETCA 6...........................  38[deg]30' N        74[deg]20' W.
ETCA 1...........................  38[deg]50' N        74[deg]20' W.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) Closed Area I Scallop Rotational Area. (1) The Closed Area I 
Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines connecting the 
following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this 
area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request), and 
so that the line connecting points CAIA3 and CAIA4 is the same as the 
portion of the western boundary line of Closed Area I, defined in Sec.  
648.81(a)(1), that lies between points CAIA3 and CAIA4:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                  Latitude        Longitude      Note
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CAIA1.........................  41[deg]26' N     68[deg]30' W.   .......
CAIA2.........................  40[deg]58' N     68[deg]30' W.   .......
CAIA3.........................  40[deg]54.95' N  68[deg]53.37'   (\1\)
                                                  W
CAIA4.........................  41[deg]04' N     69[deg]01' W.   (\1\)
CAIA1.........................  41[deg]26' N     68[deg]30' W.   .......
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ From Point CAIA3 to Point CAIA4 along the western boundary of Closed
  Area I, defined in Sec.   648.81(a)(1).

    (d) Closed Area II Scallop Rotational Area. (1) The Closed Area II 
Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines, except where 
noted, connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a 
chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator 
upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                  Latitude        Longitude      Note
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CAIIA1........................  41[deg]00' N     67[deg]20' W.   .......
CAIIA2........................  41[deg]00' N     66[deg]35.8' W  .......
CAIIA3........................  41[deg]18.45' N  (\1\)           (\2\)
CAIIA4........................  41[deg]30' N     (\3\)           (\2\)
CAIIA5........................  41[deg]30' N     67[deg]20' W.   .......
CAIIA1........................  41[deg]00' N     67[deg]20' W.   .......
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 41[deg]18.45' N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada
  Maritime Boundary, approximately 41[deg]18.45' N. lat. and
  66[deg]24.89' W. long.
\2\ From Point CAIIA3 connected to Point CAIIA4 along the U.S.-Canada
  Maritime Boundary.
\3\ The intersection of 41[deg]30' N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada Maritime
  Boundary, approximately 41[deg]30' N. lat., 66[deg]34.73' W. long.

    (2) Season. A vessel issued a scallop permit may not fish for, 
possess, or land scallops in or from the area known as the Closed Area 
II Sea Scallop Rotational Area, defined in paragraph (d)(1) of this 
section, during the period of August 15 through November 15 of each 
year the Closed Area II Access Area is open to scallop vessels, unless 
transiting pursuant to Sec.  648.59(a).
    (e) Closed Area II Extension Scallop Rotational Area. The Closed 
Area II Extension Rotational Area is defined by straight lines, except 
where noted, connecting the following points in the order stated 
(copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional 
Administrator upon request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                  Latitude        Longitude      Note
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CAIIE1........................  40[deg]30' N     67[deg]20' W.   .......
CAIIE2........................  41[deg]00' N     67[deg]20' W.   .......
CAIIE3........................  41[deg]00' N     66[deg]35.8' W  .......
CAIIE4........................  41[deg]18.45' N  (\1\)           (\2\)
CAIIE5........................  40[deg]30' N     (\3\)           (\2\)
CAIIE1........................  40[deg]30' N     67[deg]20' W.   .......
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 41[deg]18.45' N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada
  Maritime Boundary, approximately 41[deg]18.45' N. lat. and
  66[deg]24.89' W. long.
\2\ From Point CAIIE4 to Point CAIIE5 following the U.S.-Canada Maritime
  Boundary.
\3\ The intersection of 40[deg]30' N. lat. and the U.S.-Canada Maritime
  Boundary, approximately, 65[deg]44.34' W. long.

    (f) Nantucket Lightship Scallop Rotational Area. (1) The Nantucket 
Lightship Scallop Rotational Area is defined by straight lines 
connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart 
depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon 
request):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
NLAA1............................  40[deg]50' N        69[deg]30' W.
NLAA2............................  40[deg]50' N        69[deg]00' W.
NLAA3............................  40[deg]33' N        69[deg]00' W
NLAA4............................  40[deg]33' N        68[deg]48' W
NLAA5............................  40[deg]20' N        68[deg]48' W
NLAA6............................  40[deg]20' N        69[deg]30' W.
NLAA1............................  40[deg]50' N        69[deg]30' W.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
15. In Sec.  648.62, revise paragraph (a)(3), (b) introductory text, 
and paragraphs (b)(3), and (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.62  Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Management Program.

    (a) * * *
    (3) Scallop landings by all vessels issued LAGC IFQ scallop permits 
and fishing in the NGOM scallop management area shall be deducted from 
the NGOM scallop total allowable catch specified in the specifications 
or framework adjustment processes defined in Sec.  648.55. Scallop 
landings by IFQ scallop vessels fishing in the NGOM scallop management 
area shall be deducted from their respective scallop IFQs. Landings by 
incidental catch scallop vessels and limited access scallop vessels 
fishing under the scallop DAS program shall not be deducted from the 
NGOM total allowable catch specified in paragraph (b) of this section.
* * * * *
    (b) Total allowable catch. The total allowable catch for the NGOM 
scallop management area shall be specified through the framework 
adjustment process. The total allowable catch for the NGOM scallop 
management area shall be based on the Federal portion of the scallop 
resource in the NGOM. The total allowable catch shall be determined by 
historical landings until additional information on the NGOM scallop 
resource is available, for example through an NGOM resource survey and 
assessment. The ABC/ACL as defined in Sec.  648.53(a) shall not include 
the total allowable catch for the NGOM scallop management area, and 
landings from the NGOM scallop management area shall not be counted 
against the ABC/ACL defined in Sec.  648.53(a).
* * * * *
    (3) If the annual NGOM TAC is exceeded, the amount of NGOM scallop 
landings in excess of the TAC specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this 
section shall be deducted from the NGOM TAC for the subsequent fishing 
year, as soon as

[[Page 76530]]

practicable, once scallop landings data for the NGOM fishery is 
available.
    (c) VMS requirements. Except scallop vessels issued a limited 
access scallop permit pursuant to Sec.  648.4(a)(2)(i) that have 
declared a trip under the scallop DAS program, a vessel issued a 
scallop permit pursuant to Sec.  648.4(a)(2) that intends to fish for 
scallops in the NGOM scallop management area or fishes for, possesses, 
or lands scallops in or from the NGOM scallop management area, must 
declare a NGOM scallop management area trip and report scallop catch 
through the vessel's VMS unit, as required in Sec.  648.10. If the 
vessel has a NGOM permit, the vessel must declare either a Federal NGOM 
trip or a state-waters NGOM trip. If a vessel intends to fish any part 
of a NGOM trip in Federal NGOM waters, it may not declare into the 
state water NGOM fishery.
* * * * *

0
16. In Sec.  648.63, revise paragraph (b)(2)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.63  General category Sectors and harvesting cooperatives.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) A sector shall not be allocated more than 20 percent of the 
ACL for IFQ vessels defined in Sec.  648.53(a)(4).
* * * * *

0
17. In Sec.  648.64, revise paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.64  Yellowtail flounder sub-ACLs and AMs for the scallop 
fishery.

* * * * *
    (e) Process for implementing the AM--(1) If reliable information is 
available to make a mid-year determination: On or about January 15 of 
each year, based upon catch and other information available to NMFS, 
the Regional Administrator shall determine whether a yellowtail 
flounder sub-ACL was exceeded, or is projected to be exceeded, by 
scallop vessels prior to the end of the scallop fishing year. The 
determination shall include the amount of the overage or projected 
amount of the overage, specified as a percentage of the overall sub-ACL 
for the applicable yellowtail flounder stock, in accordance with the 
values specified in paragraph (a) of this section. Based on this 
initial projection in mid-January, the Regional Administrator shall 
implement the AM in accordance with the APA and notify owners of 
limited access and LAGC scallop vessels by letter identifying the 
length of the closure and a summary of the yellowtail flounder catch, 
overage, and projection that resulted in the closure.
    (2) If reliable information is not available to make a mid-year 
determination: Once NMFS has compiled the necessary information (e.g., 
when the previous fishing year's observer and catch data are fully 
available), the Regional Administrator shall determine whether a 
yellowtail flounder sub-ACL was exceeded by scallop vessels following 
the end of the scallop fishing year. The determination shall include 
the amount of the overage, specified as a percentage of the overall 
sub-ACL for the applicable yellowtail flounder stock, in accordance 
with the values specified in paragraph (a) of this section. Based on 
this information, the Regional Administrator shall implement the AM in 
accordance with the APA in Year 3 (e.g., an accountability measure 
would be implemented in fishing year 2016 for an overage that occurred 
in fishing year 2014) and notify owners of limited access and LAGC 
scallop vessels by letter identifying the length of the closure and a 
summary of the yellowtail flounder catch and overage information.
* * * * *

0
18. In Sec.  648.65, revise paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.65  Windowpane flounder sub-ACL and AM for the scallop 
fishery.

* * * * *
    (c) Process for implementing the AM--(1) If reliable information is 
available to make a mid-year determination: On or about January 15 of 
each year, based upon catch and other information available to NMFS, 
the Regional Administrator shall determine whether the SNE/MA 
windowpane flounder sub-ACL was exceeded, or is projected to be 
exceeded, and if an accountability measure was triggered as described 
in Sec.  648.90(a)(5)(iv), by scallop vessels prior to the end of the 
scallop fishing year. The determination shall include the amount of the 
overage or projected amount of the overage, specified as a percentage 
of the overall sub-ACL for the SNE/MA windowpane flounder stock, in 
accordance with the values specified in paragraph (a) of this section. 
Based on this initial determination in mid-January, the Regional 
Administrator shall implement the AM in the following fishing year in 
accordance with the APA and attempt to notify owners of limited access 
and LAGC scallop vessels by letter identifying the length of the gear 
restricted area and a summary of the SNE/MA windowpane flounder catch, 
overage, and projection that resulted in the gear restricted area.
    (2) If reliable information is not available to make a mid-year 
determination: Once NMFS has compiled the necessary information (e.g., 
when the previous fishing year's observer and catch data are fully 
available), the Regional Administrator shall determine whether the SNE/
MA windowpane flounder sub-ACL was exceeded and if an accountability 
measure was triggered as described in Sec.  648.90(a)(5)(iv), by 
scallop vessels following the end of the scallop fishing year. The 
determination shall include the amount of the overage, specified as a 
percentage of the overall sub-ACL for the SNE/MA windowpane flounder 
stock, in accordance with the values specified in paragraph (a) of this 
section. Based on this information, the Regional Administrator shall 
implement the AM in accordance with the APA in Year 3 (e.g., an 
accountability measure would be implemented in fishing year 2016 for an 
overage that occurred in fishing year 2014) and attempt to notify 
owners of limited access and LAGC scallop vessels by letter identifying 
the length of the gear restricted area and a summary of the SNE/MA 
windowpane flounder catch and overage information.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2016-25963 Filed 11-2-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P