Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, 87862-87863 [2016-29189]

Download as PDF 87862 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 234 / Tuesday, December 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules Subject: Connect America Fund, FCC 16–143, published at 81 FR 83706, November 22, 2016, in WC Docket No. 10–90. This document is being published pursuant to 47 CFR 1.429(e). See also 47 CFR 1.4(b)(1) and 1.429(f), (g). Number of Petitions Filed: 1. Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–29181 Filed 12–5–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 RIN 0648–BF26 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability of proposed Fishery Management Plan amendment; request for comments. AGENCY: The New England Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. We are requesting comments from the public on this Amendment, which was developed to prevent excessive consolidation in the groundfish fishery, promote fleet diversity, and enhance sector management. Amendment 18 includes measures that would limit the number of permits and annual groundfish allocation that an entity could hold. This action would also remove several effort restrictions to increase operational flexibility for limited access handgear vessels. DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 6, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2015–0143, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D= NOAA-NMFS-2015-0143, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Dec 05, 2016 Jkt 241001 • Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope: ‘‘Comments on Northeast Multispecies Amendment 18.’’ Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the commenter may be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Copies of Amendment 18, including its environmental impact statement, preliminary Regulatory Impact Review, and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EIS/RIR/IRFA), are available from the New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950. The EIS/RIR/ IRFA is also accessible via the Internet at: www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Whitmore, Fishery Policy Analyst, 978–281–9182. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The New England Fishery Management Council has submitted to us Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. The Council identified four goals for Amendment 18: 1. Promote a diverse groundfish fishery, including different gear types, vessel sizes, ownership patterns, geographic locations, and levels of participation through sectors and permit banks; 2. Enhance sector management to effectively engage industry to achieve management goals and improve data quality; 3. Promote resilience and stability of fishing businesses by encouraging diversification, quota utilization, and capital investment; and 4. Prevent any individual(s), corporation(s), or other entity(ies) from acquiring or controlling excessive shares of the fishery access privileges. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Amendment 18 addresses these goals through two mechanisms. First, this action proposes to establish accumulation limits on the number of groundfish permits and the amount of Potential Sector Contribution (PSC) that an entity may hold. PSC is the proportion of total landings of a particular stock associated with each permit’s fishing history. PSC also represents the allocation that an individual permit would contribute to a sector once enrolled. Second, this action proposes to remove several restrictions on limited access handgear vessels to promote participation in this small-boat fishery. The PSC limit would restrict the amount of PSC that may be held by an entity in aggregate across all allocated stocks to an average of no more than 15.5. With 15 allocated stocks, the total PSC across all stocks held by an individual or entity must be ≤ 232.5 (an average of 15.5 per stock). An individual or entity could hold PSC for a single stock in excess of 15.5, so long as the total holdings do not exceed 232.5. Supporting analyses indicate that no one entity currently holds more than 140.4 PSC. As a result, if approved, this limit is unlikely to immediately constrain any entity. The Amendment also includes a permit cap that limits an entity to holding no more than 5 percent of groundfish permits. An entity would be prohibited from acquiring a permit that would result in it exceeding the 5percent cap. There are approximately 1,373 permits currently in the fishery; a 5-percent cap would limit an entity to approximately 69 permits. As of May 1, 2014, the most permits held by an entity are 55; therefore, if approved, this alternative is unlikely to immediately restrict any entities. Amendment 18 proposes several management measures for limited access handgear vessels (Handgear A permitted vessels) to remove effort restrictions, increase operational flexibility, and encourage participation in the fishery. First, the March 1–20 spawning-block closure would be removed for all Handgear A vessels. Fishing effort by Handgear A vessels is restricted by a small annual catch limit and vessels are subject to other spawning closures. This measure would make the regulations for Handgear A vessels more consistent with vessels fishing in sectors, which are already exempted from the 20-day spawning block. Second, Handgear A vessels would no longer be required to carry a standard fish tote on board. This measure was initially implemented to aid in the E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 234 / Tuesday, December 6, 2016 / Proposed Rules sorting and weighing of fish by both fishermen and enforcement personnel. However, enforcement no longer uses totes for at-sea weight and volume estimates so the requirement for vessels to carry a tote is unnecessary. Lastly, this action would allow a sector with Handgear A vessels to request that Handgear A vessels be exempt from the requirement to use a Vessel Monitoring System. Instead, vessels would be required to declare trips through a call-in system. This measure is intended to encourage Handgear A vessels to enroll in a sector by reducing their operating expenses. Public comments are being solicited on the Amendment through the end of the comment period stated in the DATES section above. A proposed rule that would implement the Amendment will be published in the Federal Register for public comment, as part of our evaluation of Amendment 18 under requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Management Act. Public comments on the proposed rule must be received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 18 to be considered in the approval/ disapproval decision on the Amendment. All comments received by the end of the Amendment 18 comment period, whether specifically directed to the Amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/ disapproval decision. Comments received after that day will not be considered in the approval/disapproval decision for Amendment 18. To be considered, comments must be received by the close of business on the last day of the comment period; that does not mean postmarked or otherwise transmitted by that date. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: December 1, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–29189 Filed 12–5–16; 8:45 am] mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Dec 05, 2016 Jkt 241001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 161020985–6985–01] RIN 0648–XE989 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) management area. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2017 and 2018 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. DATES: Comments must be received by January 5, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2016–0140, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D= NOAA-NMFS-2016-0140, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 87863 information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action may be obtained from http:// www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2015 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2015, is available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501–2252, phone 907–271–2809, or from the Council’s Web site at http:// www.npfmc.org/. The draft 2016 SAFE report for the BSAI is available from the same source. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all groundfish species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)(A)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish proposed harvest specifications in the Federal Register and solicit public comments on proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC, American Fisheries Act allocations, Amendment 80 allocations, and Community E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 234 (Tuesday, December 6, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 87862-87863]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-29189]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

RIN 0648-BF26


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 18 to the 
Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of proposed Fishery Management Plan 
amendment; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The New England Fishery Management Council has submitted 
Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. We 
are requesting comments from the public on this Amendment, which was 
developed to prevent excessive consolidation in the groundfish fishery, 
promote fleet diversity, and enhance sector management. Amendment 18 
includes measures that would limit the number of permits and annual 
groundfish allocation that an entity could hold. This action would also 
remove several effort restrictions to increase operational flexibility 
for limited access handgear vessels.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 6, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2015-0143, by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0143, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional 
Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 
Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the 
envelope: ``Comments on Northeast Multispecies Amendment 18.''
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the commenter may be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Copies of Amendment 18, including its environmental impact 
statement, preliminary Regulatory Impact Review, and Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (EIS/RIR/IRFA), are available from the New England 
Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950. The 
EIS/RIR/IRFA is also accessible via the Internet at: 
www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Whitmore, Fishery Policy 
Analyst, 978-281-9182.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The New England Fishery Management Council has submitted to us 
Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. The 
Council identified four goals for Amendment 18:
    1. Promote a diverse groundfish fishery, including different gear 
types, vessel sizes, ownership patterns, geographic locations, and 
levels of participation through sectors and permit banks;
    2. Enhance sector management to effectively engage industry to 
achieve management goals and improve data quality;
    3. Promote resilience and stability of fishing businesses by 
encouraging diversification, quota utilization, and capital investment; 
and
    4. Prevent any individual(s), corporation(s), or other entity(ies) 
from acquiring or controlling excessive shares of the fishery access 
privileges.
    Amendment 18 addresses these goals through two mechanisms. First, 
this action proposes to establish accumulation limits on the number of 
groundfish permits and the amount of Potential Sector Contribution 
(PSC) that an entity may hold. PSC is the proportion of total landings 
of a particular stock associated with each permit's fishing history. 
PSC also represents the allocation that an individual permit would 
contribute to a sector once enrolled. Second, this action proposes to 
remove several restrictions on limited access handgear vessels to 
promote participation in this small-boat fishery.
    The PSC limit would restrict the amount of PSC that may be held by 
an entity in aggregate across all allocated stocks to an average of no 
more than 15.5. With 15 allocated stocks, the total PSC across all 
stocks held by an individual or entity must be <= 232.5 (an average of 
15.5 per stock). An individual or entity could hold PSC for a single 
stock in excess of 15.5, so long as the total holdings do not exceed 
232.5. Supporting analyses indicate that no one entity currently holds 
more than 140.4 PSC. As a result, if approved, this limit is unlikely 
to immediately constrain any entity.
    The Amendment also includes a permit cap that limits an entity to 
holding no more than 5 percent of groundfish permits. An entity would 
be prohibited from acquiring a permit that would result in it exceeding 
the 5-percent cap. There are approximately 1,373 permits currently in 
the fishery; a 5-percent cap would limit an entity to approximately 69 
permits. As of May 1, 2014, the most permits held by an entity are 55; 
therefore, if approved, this alternative is unlikely to immediately 
restrict any entities.
    Amendment 18 proposes several management measures for limited 
access handgear vessels (Handgear A permitted vessels) to remove effort 
restrictions, increase operational flexibility, and encourage 
participation in the fishery.
    First, the March 1-20 spawning-block closure would be removed for 
all Handgear A vessels. Fishing effort by Handgear A vessels is 
restricted by a small annual catch limit and vessels are subject to 
other spawning closures. This measure would make the regulations for 
Handgear A vessels more consistent with vessels fishing in sectors, 
which are already exempted from the 20-day spawning block.
    Second, Handgear A vessels would no longer be required to carry a 
standard fish tote on board. This measure was initially implemented to 
aid in the

[[Page 87863]]

sorting and weighing of fish by both fishermen and enforcement 
personnel. However, enforcement no longer uses totes for at-sea weight 
and volume estimates so the requirement for vessels to carry a tote is 
unnecessary.
    Lastly, this action would allow a sector with Handgear A vessels to 
request that Handgear A vessels be exempt from the requirement to use a 
Vessel Monitoring System. Instead, vessels would be required to declare 
trips through a call-in system. This measure is intended to encourage 
Handgear A vessels to enroll in a sector by reducing their operating 
expenses.
    Public comments are being solicited on the Amendment through the 
end of the comment period stated in the DATES section above. A proposed 
rule that would implement the Amendment will be published in the 
Federal Register for public comment, as part of our evaluation of 
Amendment 18 under requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation Management Act. Public comments on the proposed rule must 
be received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 18 to be 
considered in the approval/disapproval decision on the Amendment. All 
comments received by the end of the Amendment 18 comment period, 
whether specifically directed to the Amendment or the proposed rule, 
will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. Comments 
received after that day will not be considered in the approval/
disapproval decision for Amendment 18. To be considered, comments must 
be received by the close of business on the last day of the comment 
period; that does not mean postmarked or otherwise transmitted by that 
date.

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

    Dated: December 1, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-29189 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P