Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Amendment 26, 90314-90317 [2016-30046]

Download as PDF 90314 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2016 / Proposed Rules Common name Scientific name * * * * * * * * Dated: December 5, 2016. Stephen Guertin, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2016–30059 Filed 12–13–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648–BG03 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Amendment 26 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council) and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) have jointly submitted Amendment 26 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 26 would adjust the management boundary for the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel; revise management reference points, stock and sector annual catch limits (ACLs), commercial quotas, and recreational annual catch targets (ACTs) for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel; allow limited retention and sale of Atlantic migratory group king mackerel incidentally caught in the shark gillnet fishery; establish a commercial split season for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; establish a commercial trip limit system for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; revise reference points and stock and sector ACLs for Gulf migratory group king mackerel; revise commercial zone quotas for Gulf migratory group king sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Dec 13, 2016 Where listed Jkt 241001 Status * Listing citations and applicable rules * mackerel; and modify the recreational bag limit for Gulf migratory group king mackerel. The purpose of Amendment 26 is to ensure that king mackerel management is based on the best scientific information available, while increasing the social and economic benefits of the fishery. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before February 13, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on Amendment 26 identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2016–0120,’’ by either of the following methods: • Electronic submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20160120, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Karla Gore, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of Amendment 26 may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http:// sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. Amendment 26 includes a draft environmental assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory impact review. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karla Gore, telephone: 727–551–5753, or email: karla.gore@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional fishery management council to submit any FMP or FMP amendment to NMFS for review and approval, partial PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 * * approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a plan or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying the public that the plan or amendment is available for review and comment. The FMP being revised by Amendment 26 was prepared jointly by the South Atlantic and the Gulf Councils (Councils) and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the MagnusonStevens Act. Background In September of 2014, the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review 38 stock assessment (SEDAR 38) was completed for both the Gulf migratory group and Atlantic migratory group of king mackerel. SEDAR 38 determined that both the Gulf migratory group and Atlantic migratory group of king mackerel are not overfished and are not undergoing overfishing. The Gulf Council’s and South Atlantic Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSCs) reviewed the assessment and concluded that SEDAR 38 should form the basis for revisions to reference points such as the overfishing limit (OFL) and acceptable biological catch (ABC), and the ACLs for the two migratory groups of king mackerel. SEDAR 38 also provided genetic information on king mackerel, which indicated that the winter mixing zone for the two migratory groups was smaller than previously thought and that the management boundary for these migratory groups should be revised. Actions Contained in Amendment 26 Amendment 26 includes actions to adjust the management boundary of the Gulf and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel; revise reference points, stock and sector ACLs, commercial quotas, and recreational ACTs for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel; allow limited retention and sale of Atlantic migratory group king mackerel incidentally caught in the shark gillnet fishery; establish a commercial split season for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; establish a commercial trip limit system for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; establish a commercial trip limit system for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; E:\FR\FM\14DEP1.SGM 14DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2016 / Proposed Rules revise reference points and stock and sector ACLs for the Gulf migratory group of king mackerel; revise commercial zone quotas for Gulf migratory group king mackerel; and modify the recreational bag limit for Gulf migratory group king mackerel. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Management Boundary and Zone Descriptions for the Gulf and Atlantic Migratory Groups of King Mackerel Currently management boundaries change seasonally for the Gulf and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel based on the historical understanding that the two migratory groups mixed seasonally off the east coast of Florida and in Monroe County, Florida. However, in 2014, SEDAR 38 determined the mixing zone between the two migratory groups now exists only in the portion of the EEZ off Monroe County, Florida, south of the Florida Keys. Amendment 26 would set a single year-round regulatory boundary (Gulf/Atlantic group boundary) separating management of the two migratory groups of king mackerel, based on the genetic analysis used in SEDAR 38. This new year-round Gulf/ Atlantic group boundary would be set at a line extending east of the Miami-Dade/ Monroe County, FL boundary, to better represent the area where the two migratory groups primarily exist. The newly defined mixing zone off of the Florida Keys would be included in the Gulf migratory group and managed by the Gulf Council. Through Amendment 26, the Gulf migratory group’s current eastern zonenorthern subzone and eastern zonesouthern subzone would be renamed the northern zone and southern zone, respectively. The southern zone would include the new mixing zone, extending east to the new Gulf/Atlantic group boundary. The name and dimensions of the Gulf migratory group’s western zone would remain the same. The Atlantic migratory group’s northern zone would also remain unchanged. The southern boundary of the Atlantic migratory group’s southern zone would shift to the new Gulf/Atlantic group boundary. Due to this shift, the current Florida east coast subzone would no longer exist under Amendment 26. Instead, that area would be included in the Atlantic migratory group’s southern zone yearround. This action would not change the current Federal fishing permits requirements for fishing for king mackerel in the Gulf and Atlantic areas as defined in Federal regulations. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:32 Dec 13, 2016 Jkt 241001 Atlantic Migratory Group King Mackerel Reference Points, ACLs, Commercial Quotas and Recreational ACTs Amendment 18 to the FMP established reference points, ACLs, and accountability measures for both migratory groups of king mackerel (76 FR 82058, December 29, 2011). The current ABC of 10.46 million lb (4.74 million kg) for the Atlantic migratory group king mackerel was set in Amendment 18. In Amendment 26, the Councils chose revisions of the OFLs and ABCs for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel based on SEDAR 38 and the South Atlantic Council’s SSC ABC recommendation based on a high recruitment scenario. The Atlantic migratory group ABC would gradually decrease from 17.4 million lb (7.89 million kg) in the 2016–2017 fishing year to 12.7 million lb (5.76 million kg) in the 2019–2020 fishing year. Amendment 26 would also set the stock ACL equal to OY and the ABC. The Atlantic migratory group’s sector allocation (37.1 percent of the ACL to the commercial sector and 62.9 percent of the ACL to the recreational sector) will not change through Amendment 26. Amendment 26 would revise the commercial ACLs for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel to be 6.5 million lb (2.9 million kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 5.9 million lb (2.7 million kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 5.2 million lb (2.4 million kg) for the 2018– 2019 fishing year, and 4.7 million lb (2.1 million kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The recreational ACLs for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel would be set at 10.9 million lb (4.9 million kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 9.9 million lb (4.5 million kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 8.9 million lb (4.0 million kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 8.0 million lb (3.6 million kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The recreational sector ACTs for Atlantic migratory group kind mackerel would be set at 10.1 million lb (4.6 million kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 9.2 million lb (4.2 million kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 8.3 million lb (3.8 million kg) for the 2018– 2019 fishing year and 7.4 million lb (3.4 million kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The commercial ACLs for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel would be divided each fishing year between the northern zone (23.04 percent) and the southern zone (76.96 percent) into their respective commercial quotas. The proposed commercial quotas for the Atlantic northern zone would be 1,497,600 lb (679,300 kg) for the 2016– PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 90315 2017 fishing year, 1,259,360 lb (616,595 kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 1,198,080 lb (543,440 kg) for the 2018– 2019 fishing year, and 1,082,880 lb (491,186 kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent years. Proposed commercial quotas for the Atlantic southern zone would be 5,002,400 lb (2,269,050 kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 4,540,640 lb (2,059,600 kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 4,001,920 lb (1,815,240 kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 3,617,120 lb (1,640,698 kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. Incidental Catch of Atlantic Migratory Group King Mackerel Caught in the Shark Gillnet Fishery Amendment 20A to the FMP prohibited recreational bag limit sales of king mackerel by commercially permitted king mackerel fishers in South Atlantic Council jurisdictional waters, which included king mackerel incidentally caught on directed commercial shark trips (79 FR 34246, June 16, 2014). In Amendment 26, the Councils determined that, as a result of the mesh size used and the nature of the shark gillnet fishery, most king mackerel are already dead when the shark gillnets are retrieved. The Councils decided that some incidental catch of Atlantic migratory group king mackerel should be allowed for retention and sale if it is incidentally caught in the commercial shark gillnet fishery on vessels with a Federal king mackerel commercial permit. If Amendment 26 is approved and implemented, a vessel in the Atlantic Exclusive Economic Zone that is engaged in directed shark fishing with gillnets, and that has both a valid Federal shark directed commercial permit and a valid Federal king mackerel commercial permit, would be allowed to retain and sell a limited number of king mackerel. In the Atlantic northern zone, no more than three king mackerel per crew member could be retained or sold per trip. In the Atlantic southern zone, no more than two king mackerel per crew member could be retained or sold per trip. The incidental catch allowance would not apply to commercial shark trips that are using an authorized gillnet for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel north of Cape Lookout Light. In that area the existing commercial trip limit of 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) would apply. No type of gillnet is an allowable gear for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel south of Cape Lookout Light. These incidentally caught king mackerel would have to be retained or sold to a dealer with a valid E:\FR\FM\14DEP1.SGM 14DEP1 90316 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2016 / Proposed Rules Federal Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit. This action is intended to reduce king mackerel discards and allow for the limited retention and sale of king mackerel, while not encouraging direct harvest of king mackerel on these shark fishing trips. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Commercial Split Seasons for Atlantic Migratory Group King Mackerel in Atlantic Southern Zone Currently, the commercial fishing year for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel is March 1 through the end of February, and the commercial ACLs for the Atlantic northern zone and southern zone are allocated for the entire fishing year. Amendment 26 would divide the annual Atlantic migratory group kind mackerel commercial quota for the Atlantic southern zone into two commercial seasons. The Atlantic northern zone quota would not be split. Amendment 26 would divide the commercial quotas for the Atlantic southern zone by allocating 60 percent to the first season of March 1 through September 30, and 40 percent to the second season of October 1 through the end of February. This commercial split season for the Atlantic southern zone quota is intended to ensure that a portion of the southern zone’s quota is available in later months of the fishing year, which will allow for increased fishing opportunities during more of the fishing year. The proposed seasonal commercial quotas for the first season of March 1 through September 30 each fishing year in the southern zone would be: 3,001,440 lb (1,361,430 kg) for the 2016– 2017 fishing year, 2,724,384 lb (1,235,760 kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 2,401,152 lb (1,089,144 kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 2,170,272 lb (984,419 kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The proposed seasonal commercial quotas for the second season of October 1 through the end of February each fishing year in the southern zone would be: 2,000,960 lb (907,620 kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 1,816,256 lb (823,840 kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 1,600,768 lb (726,096 kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 1,446,848 lb (656,279 kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent years. Commercial Trip Limit System for the Atlantic Migratory Group of King Mackerel in the Atlantic Southern Zone Commercial trip limits for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel are limits on the amount of that species that may be possessed on board or landed, purchased or sold from a federally VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:32 Dec 13, 2016 Jkt 241001 permitted king mackerel vessel per day. Several commercial trip limits currently exist in the Atlantic southern zone. North of 29°25′ N. lat., which is a line directly east from the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary, the trip limit for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel is 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) year-round. In the area between the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary (29°25′ N. lat.) and 28°47.8′ N. lat., which is a line extending directly east from the Volusia/Brevard County, FL, boundary, the trip limit is 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) from April 1 through October 31. In the area between the Volusia/Brevard County, FL, boundary (28°47.8′ N. lat.) and 25°20.4′ N. lat., which is a line directly east from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL boundary, the trip limit is 75 fish from April 1 through October 31. In the area between the Miami-Dade/ Monroe County, FL, boundary, and 25°48″ N. lat., which is a line directly west from Monroe/Collier County, FL, boundary, the trip limit is 1,250 lb (567 kg) from April 1 through October 31. Amendment 26 would revise the commercial trip limits for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone, based on the revised management boundary and split commercial season. During the first commercial season (March 1 through September 30), in the area between the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary (29°25′ N. lat.), and the Miami-Dade/ Monroe County, FL boundary (25°20.24″ N. lat.), the trip limit would be 50 fish during March. From April 1 through September 30, the trip limit would be 75 fish, unless NMFS determines that 75 percent or more of the Atlantic southern zone quota for the first season has been landed, then the trip limit would be 50 fish. During the second commercial season (October 1 through the end of February), the trip limit would be 50 fish for the area between the Flagler/ Volusia County, FL, boundary, and the the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL boundary. During the month of February, the trip limit would remain 50 fish, unless NMFS determines that less than 70 percent of the commercial quota for the southern zone’s second season has been landed, then the trip limit would be 75 fish. Amendment 26 would not revise the 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) year-round trip limit for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel, north of the Flagler/Volusia County, FL boundary. In Amendment 26, the Councils determined that these changes to the commercial season and commercial trip limits for the Atlantic southern zone would ensure the longest possible PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 commercial fishing season for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel. Gulf Migratory Group King Mackerel ACLs The current ABC and total ACL for Gulf migratory group king mackerel is 10.8 million lb (4.89 million kg). Based on its review of SEDAR 38, the Gulf Council’s SSC recommended OFLs and ABCs for Gulf migratory group king mackerel for the 2015–2016 through 2019–2020 fishing years that decrease over time. The Gulf migratory group king mackerel ABCs in Amendment 26 are lower than the current ABC and total ACL, because the geographical area for which the new ABCs apply is smaller than the current area for which they apply, as a result of the proposed zone revisions in the Gulf and Atlantic. Because Gulf migratory group king mackerel is not overfished or undergoing overfishing, the Gulf Council recommended that ACL remain equal to OY and to ABC. Therefore, in Amendment 26, the total ACLs for the Gulf migratory group of king mackerel are the same values as the ABCs recommended by the Gulf SSC: 9.21 million lb (4.18 million kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 8.88 million lb (4.03 million kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 8.71 million lb (3.95 million kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 8.55 million lb (3.88 million kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year. Amendment 26 would not revise the current Gulf migratory group king mackerel allocations (68 percent of the total ACL to the recreational sector and 32 percent to the commercial sector). Based on the existing allocations, the commercial ACLs proposed for Gulf migratory group king mackerel are: 2.95 million lb (1.34 million kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 2.84 million lb (1.29 million kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 2.79 million lb (1.27 million kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 2.74 million lb (1.24 million kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The Gulf migratory group commercial ACLs would be further divided each fishing year into gear-specific commercial ACLs for hook-and-line gear and for vessels fishing with run-around gillnet gear. The hook-and-line component commercial ACLs (which applies to the entire Gulf) would be: 2,330,500 lb (1,057,097 kg) for the 2016– 2017 fishing year, 2,243,600 lb (1,017,680 kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 2,204,100 lb (999,763 kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 2,164,600 lb (981,846 kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent years. The run-around gillnet component E:\FR\FM\14DEP1.SGM 14DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 240 / Wednesday, December 14, 2016 / Proposed Rules commercial ACL (which applies to the Gulf southern zone) would be: 619,500 lb (281,000 kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 596,400 lb (270,522 kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 585,900 lb (265,760 kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 575,400 lb (260,997 kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The commercial quota by zones would also be modified (see below). The proposed recreational ACLs for Gulf migratory group king mackerel would be: 6.26 million lb (2.84 million kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 6.04 million lb (2.74 million kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 5.92 million lb (2.69 million kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 5.81 million lb (2.64 million kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Commercial Zone Quotas for Gulf Migratory Group King Mackerel Amendment 26 would revise the Gulf migratory group commercial zone quotas, because of the proposed changes to the Councils’ jurisdictional boundaries and resultant zone revisions. The current allocation of the commercial ACL for Gulf migratory group king mackerel by zones is: 31 percent in the western zone, 5.17 percent in the northern zone, 15.96 percent for the southern zone using hook-and-line gear, 15.96 percent for the southern zone using gillnet gear, and 31.91 percent for the Florida east coast subzone. However, under Amendment 26, the Florida east coast subzone would no longer exist and the quota associated with that zone would be re-allocated to the remaining zones. The revised allocation of commercial zone quotas for Gulf migratory group king mackerel would be: 40 percent in the western zone, 18 percent in the northern zone, 21 percent for the southern zone using VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:32 Dec 13, 2016 Jkt 241001 hook-and-line gear, and 21 percent for the southern zone using gillnet gear. The proposed commercial quotas for the Gulf western zone would be: 1,180,000 lb (535,239 kg) for the 2016– 2017 fishing year, 1,136,000 lb (515,281 kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 1,116,000 lb (506,209 kg) for the 2018– 2019 fishing year, and 1,096,000 lb (497,137 kg) for the 2019–20 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The proposed commercial quotas for the Gulf northern zone would be: 531,000 lb (240,858 kg) for the 2016– 2017 fishing year, 511,200 lb (231,876 kg) for the 2017–18 fishing year, 502,200 lb (227,794 kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 493,200 lb (223,712 kg) for the 2019–2010 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The proposed commercial hook-andline and commercial run-around gillnet component quotas in the southern zone would be equal to each other for each fishing year and would be: 619,500 lb (281,000 kg) for the 2016–2017 fishing year, 596,400 lb (270,522 kg) for the 2017–2018 fishing year, 585,900 lb (265,760 kg) for the 2018–2019 fishing year, and 575,400 lb (260,997 kg) for the 2019–2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. Allocation and the Recreational Bag Limit for Gulf Migratory Group of King Mackerel From the 2002–2003 fishing year through the 2013–2014 fishing year, the recreational sector’s landings of the Gulf migratory group of king mackerel were consistently less than 50 percent of the recreational ACL, while the commercial sector’s landings were consistently 90 percent or more of the commercial ACL. In Amendment 26, the Councils considered but rejected, the possibility of reallocating from the recreational ACL to the commercial ACL and instead PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 90317 proposed an increase in the recreational bag limit for Gulf migratory group king mackerel from 2 fish per person per trip to 3 fish per person per trip. The Councils determined that this increased recreational bag limit would allow more opportunities for recreational anglers to harvest the recreational sector ACL. A proposed rule that would implement Amendment 26 has been drafted. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is evaluating the proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register for public review and comment. Consideration of Public Comments The Councils have submitted Amendment 26 for Secretarial review, approval, and implementation. Comments on Amendment 26 must be received by February 13, 2017. Comments received during the respective comment periods, whether specifically directed to the amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, disapprove, or partially approve Amendment 26. All comments received by NMFS on the amendment or the proposed rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final rule. Authority: 16 U.S.C 1801 et seq. Dated: December 9, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–30046 Filed 12–13–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\14DEP1.SGM 14DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 240 (Wednesday, December 14, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 90314-90317]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-30046]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

RIN 0648-BG03


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic 
Region; Amendment 26

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic 
Council) and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) 
have jointly submitted Amendment 26 to the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico and 
Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. 
Amendment 26 would adjust the management boundary for the Gulf of 
Mexico (Gulf) and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel; revise 
management reference points, stock and sector annual catch limits 
(ACLs), commercial quotas, and recreational annual catch targets (ACTs) 
for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel; allow limited retention and 
sale of Atlantic migratory group king mackerel incidentally caught in 
the shark gillnet fishery; establish a commercial split season for 
Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; 
establish a commercial trip limit system for Atlantic migratory group 
king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone; revise reference points 
and stock and sector ACLs for Gulf migratory group king mackerel; 
revise commercial zone quotas for Gulf migratory group king mackerel; 
and modify the recreational bag limit for Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel. The purpose of Amendment 26 is to ensure that king mackerel 
management is based on the best scientific information available, while 
increasing the social and economic benefits of the fishery.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before February 13, 
2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on Amendment 26 identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2016-0120,'' by either of the following methods:
     Electronic submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-
NMFS-2016-0120, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required 
fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Karla Gore, Southeast 
Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    Electronic copies of Amendment 26 may be obtained from the 
Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. 
Amendment 26 includes a draft environmental assessment, a Regulatory 
Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory impact review.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karla Gore, telephone: 727-551-5753, 
or email: karla.gore@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional 
fishery management council to submit any FMP or FMP amendment to NMFS 
for review and approval, partial approval, or disapproval. The 
Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a plan or 
amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying 
the public that the plan or amendment is available for review and 
comment.
    The FMP being revised by Amendment 26 was prepared jointly by the 
South Atlantic and the Gulf Councils (Councils) and implemented through 
regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act.

Background

    In September of 2014, the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review 38 
stock assessment (SEDAR 38) was completed for both the Gulf migratory 
group and Atlantic migratory group of king mackerel. SEDAR 38 
determined that both the Gulf migratory group and Atlantic migratory 
group of king mackerel are not overfished and are not undergoing 
overfishing. The Gulf Council's and South Atlantic Council's Scientific 
and Statistical Committees (SSCs) reviewed the assessment and concluded 
that SEDAR 38 should form the basis for revisions to reference points 
such as the overfishing limit (OFL) and acceptable biological catch 
(ABC), and the ACLs for the two migratory groups of king mackerel. 
SEDAR 38 also provided genetic information on king mackerel, which 
indicated that the winter mixing zone for the two migratory groups was 
smaller than previously thought and that the management boundary for 
these migratory groups should be revised.

Actions Contained in Amendment 26

    Amendment 26 includes actions to adjust the management boundary of 
the Gulf and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel; revise 
reference points, stock and sector ACLs, commercial quotas, and 
recreational ACTs for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel; allow 
limited retention and sale of Atlantic migratory group king mackerel 
incidentally caught in the shark gillnet fishery; establish a 
commercial split season for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in 
the Atlantic southern zone; establish a commercial trip limit system 
for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern 
zone; establish a commercial trip limit system for Atlantic migratory 
group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone;

[[Page 90315]]

revise reference points and stock and sector ACLs for the Gulf 
migratory group of king mackerel; revise commercial zone quotas for 
Gulf migratory group king mackerel; and modify the recreational bag 
limit for Gulf migratory group king mackerel.

Management Boundary and Zone Descriptions for the Gulf and Atlantic 
Migratory Groups of King Mackerel

    Currently management boundaries change seasonally for the Gulf and 
Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel based on the historical 
understanding that the two migratory groups mixed seasonally off the 
east coast of Florida and in Monroe County, Florida. However, in 2014, 
SEDAR 38 determined the mixing zone between the two migratory groups 
now exists only in the portion of the EEZ off Monroe County, Florida, 
south of the Florida Keys. Amendment 26 would set a single year-round 
regulatory boundary (Gulf/Atlantic group boundary) separating 
management of the two migratory groups of king mackerel, based on the 
genetic analysis used in SEDAR 38. This new year-round Gulf/Atlantic 
group boundary would be set at a line extending east of the Miami-Dade/
Monroe County, FL boundary, to better represent the area where the two 
migratory groups primarily exist. The newly defined mixing zone off of 
the Florida Keys would be included in the Gulf migratory group and 
managed by the Gulf Council.
    Through Amendment 26, the Gulf migratory group's current eastern 
zone-northern subzone and eastern zone-southern subzone would be 
renamed the northern zone and southern zone, respectively. The southern 
zone would include the new mixing zone, extending east to the new Gulf/
Atlantic group boundary. The name and dimensions of the Gulf migratory 
group's western zone would remain the same. The Atlantic migratory 
group's northern zone would also remain unchanged. The southern 
boundary of the Atlantic migratory group's southern zone would shift to 
the new Gulf/Atlantic group boundary. Due to this shift, the current 
Florida east coast subzone would no longer exist under Amendment 26. 
Instead, that area would be included in the Atlantic migratory group's 
southern zone year-round.
    This action would not change the current Federal fishing permits 
requirements for fishing for king mackerel in the Gulf and Atlantic 
areas as defined in Federal regulations.

Atlantic Migratory Group King Mackerel Reference Points, ACLs, 
Commercial Quotas and Recreational ACTs

    Amendment 18 to the FMP established reference points, ACLs, and 
accountability measures for both migratory groups of king mackerel (76 
FR 82058, December 29, 2011). The current ABC of 10.46 million lb (4.74 
million kg) for the Atlantic migratory group king mackerel was set in 
Amendment 18. In Amendment 26, the Councils chose revisions of the OFLs 
and ABCs for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel based on SEDAR 38 
and the South Atlantic Council's SSC ABC recommendation based on a high 
recruitment scenario. The Atlantic migratory group ABC would gradually 
decrease from 17.4 million lb (7.89 million kg) in the 2016-2017 
fishing year to 12.7 million lb (5.76 million kg) in the 2019-2020 
fishing year.
    Amendment 26 would also set the stock ACL equal to OY and the ABC. 
The Atlantic migratory group's sector allocation (37.1 percent of the 
ACL to the commercial sector and 62.9 percent of the ACL to the 
recreational sector) will not change through Amendment 26. Amendment 26 
would revise the commercial ACLs for Atlantic migratory group king 
mackerel to be 6.5 million lb (2.9 million kg) for the 2016-2017 
fishing year, 5.9 million lb (2.7 million kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing 
year, 5.2 million lb (2.4 million kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year, 
and 4.7 million lb (2.1 million kg) for the 2019-2020 fishing year and 
subsequent fishing years. The recreational ACLs for Atlantic migratory 
group king mackerel would be set at 10.9 million lb (4.9 million kg) 
for the 2016-2017 fishing year, 9.9 million lb (4.5 million kg) for the 
2017-2018 fishing year, 8.9 million lb (4.0 million kg) for the 2018-
2019 fishing year, and 8.0 million lb (3.6 million kg) for the 2019-
2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The recreational sector 
ACTs for Atlantic migratory group kind mackerel would be set at 10.1 
million lb (4.6 million kg) for the 2016-2017 fishing year, 9.2 million 
lb (4.2 million kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 8.3 million lb (3.8 
million kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year and 7.4 million lb (3.4 
million kg) for the 2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing 
years.
    The commercial ACLs for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel 
would be divided each fishing year between the northern zone (23.04 
percent) and the southern zone (76.96 percent) into their respective 
commercial quotas. The proposed commercial quotas for the Atlantic 
northern zone would be 1,497,600 lb (679,300 kg) for the 2016-2017 
fishing year, 1,259,360 lb (616,595 kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 
1,198,080 lb (543,440 kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 1,082,880 
lb (491,186 kg) for the 2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent years. 
Proposed commercial quotas for the Atlantic southern zone would be 
5,002,400 lb (2,269,050 kg) for the 2016-2017 fishing year, 4,540,640 
lb (2,059,600 kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 4,001,920 lb 
(1,815,240 kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 3,617,120 lb 
(1,640,698 kg) for the 2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing 
years.

Incidental Catch of Atlantic Migratory Group King Mackerel Caught in 
the Shark Gillnet Fishery

    Amendment 20A to the FMP prohibited recreational bag limit sales of 
king mackerel by commercially permitted king mackerel fishers in South 
Atlantic Council jurisdictional waters, which included king mackerel 
incidentally caught on directed commercial shark trips (79 FR 34246, 
June 16, 2014).
    In Amendment 26, the Councils determined that, as a result of the 
mesh size used and the nature of the shark gillnet fishery, most king 
mackerel are already dead when the shark gillnets are retrieved. The 
Councils decided that some incidental catch of Atlantic migratory group 
king mackerel should be allowed for retention and sale if it is 
incidentally caught in the commercial shark gillnet fishery on vessels 
with a Federal king mackerel commercial permit.
    If Amendment 26 is approved and implemented, a vessel in the 
Atlantic Exclusive Economic Zone that is engaged in directed shark 
fishing with gillnets, and that has both a valid Federal shark directed 
commercial permit and a valid Federal king mackerel commercial permit, 
would be allowed to retain and sell a limited number of king mackerel. 
In the Atlantic northern zone, no more than three king mackerel per 
crew member could be retained or sold per trip. In the Atlantic 
southern zone, no more than two king mackerel per crew member could be 
retained or sold per trip. The incidental catch allowance would not 
apply to commercial shark trips that are using an authorized gillnet 
for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel north of Cape Lookout Light. 
In that area the existing commercial trip limit of 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) 
would apply. No type of gillnet is an allowable gear for Atlantic 
migratory group king mackerel south of Cape Lookout Light. These 
incidentally caught king mackerel would have to be retained or sold to 
a dealer with a valid

[[Page 90316]]

Federal Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit. This action is intended 
to reduce king mackerel discards and allow for the limited retention 
and sale of king mackerel, while not encouraging direct harvest of king 
mackerel on these shark fishing trips.

Commercial Split Seasons for Atlantic Migratory Group King Mackerel in 
Atlantic Southern Zone

    Currently, the commercial fishing year for Atlantic migratory group 
king mackerel is March 1 through the end of February, and the 
commercial ACLs for the Atlantic northern zone and southern zone are 
allocated for the entire fishing year. Amendment 26 would divide the 
annual Atlantic migratory group kind mackerel commercial quota for the 
Atlantic southern zone into two commercial seasons. The Atlantic 
northern zone quota would not be split. Amendment 26 would divide the 
commercial quotas for the Atlantic southern zone by allocating 60 
percent to the first season of March 1 through September 30, and 40 
percent to the second season of October 1 through the end of February. 
This commercial split season for the Atlantic southern zone quota is 
intended to ensure that a portion of the southern zone's quota is 
available in later months of the fishing year, which will allow for 
increased fishing opportunities during more of the fishing year.
    The proposed seasonal commercial quotas for the first season of 
March 1 through September 30 each fishing year in the southern zone 
would be: 3,001,440 lb (1,361,430 kg) for the 2016-2017 fishing year, 
2,724,384 lb (1,235,760 kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 2,401,152 
lb (1,089,144 kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 2,170,272 lb 
(984,419 kg) for the 2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing 
years. The proposed seasonal commercial quotas for the second season of 
October 1 through the end of February each fishing year in the southern 
zone would be: 2,000,960 lb (907,620 kg) for the 2016-2017 fishing 
year, 1,816,256 lb (823,840 kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 
1,600,768 lb (726,096 kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 1,446,848 
lb (656,279 kg) for the 2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent years.

Commercial Trip Limit System for the Atlantic Migratory Group of King 
Mackerel in the Atlantic Southern Zone

    Commercial trip limits for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel 
are limits on the amount of that species that may be possessed on board 
or landed, purchased or sold from a federally permitted king mackerel 
vessel per day. Several commercial trip limits currently exist in the 
Atlantic southern zone. North of 29[deg]25' N. lat., which is a line 
directly east from the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary, the trip 
limit for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel is 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) 
year-round. In the area between the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, 
boundary (29[deg]25' N. lat.) and 28[deg]47.8' N. lat., which is a line 
extending directly east from the Volusia/Brevard County, FL, boundary, 
the trip limit is 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) from April 1 through October 31. 
In the area between the Volusia/Brevard County, FL, boundary 
(28[deg]47.8' N. lat.) and 25[deg]20.4' N. lat., which is a line 
directly east from the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL boundary, the trip 
limit is 75 fish from April 1 through October 31. In the area between 
the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL, boundary, and 25[deg]48'' N. lat., 
which is a line directly west from Monroe/Collier County, FL, boundary, 
the trip limit is 1,250 lb (567 kg) from April 1 through October 31.
    Amendment 26 would revise the commercial trip limits for Atlantic 
migratory group king mackerel in the Atlantic southern zone, based on 
the revised management boundary and split commercial season. During the 
first commercial season (March 1 through September 30), in the area 
between the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary (29[deg]25' N. lat.), 
and the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL boundary (25[deg]20.24'' N. lat.), 
the trip limit would be 50 fish during March. From April 1 through 
September 30, the trip limit would be 75 fish, unless NMFS determines 
that 75 percent or more of the Atlantic southern zone quota for the 
first season has been landed, then the trip limit would be 50 fish. 
During the second commercial season (October 1 through the end of 
February), the trip limit would be 50 fish for the area between the 
Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary, and the the Miami-Dade/Monroe 
County, FL boundary. During the month of February, the trip limit would 
remain 50 fish, unless NMFS determines that less than 70 percent of the 
commercial quota for the southern zone's second season has been landed, 
then the trip limit would be 75 fish.
    Amendment 26 would not revise the 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) year-round 
trip limit for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel, north of the 
Flagler/Volusia County, FL boundary.
    In Amendment 26, the Councils determined that these changes to the 
commercial season and commercial trip limits for the Atlantic southern 
zone would ensure the longest possible commercial fishing season for 
Atlantic migratory group king mackerel.

Gulf Migratory Group King Mackerel ACLs

    The current ABC and total ACL for Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel is 10.8 million lb (4.89 million kg). Based on its review of 
SEDAR 38, the Gulf Council's SSC recommended OFLs and ABCs for Gulf 
migratory group king mackerel for the 2015-2016 through 2019-2020 
fishing years that decrease over time. The Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel ABCs in Amendment 26 are lower than the current ABC and total 
ACL, because the geographical area for which the new ABCs apply is 
smaller than the current area for which they apply, as a result of the 
proposed zone revisions in the Gulf and Atlantic.
    Because Gulf migratory group king mackerel is not overfished or 
undergoing overfishing, the Gulf Council recommended that ACL remain 
equal to OY and to ABC. Therefore, in Amendment 26, the total ACLs for 
the Gulf migratory group of king mackerel are the same values as the 
ABCs recommended by the Gulf SSC: 9.21 million lb (4.18 million kg) for 
the 2016-2017 fishing year, 8.88 million lb (4.03 million kg) for the 
2017-2018 fishing year, 8.71 million lb (3.95 million kg) for the 2018-
2019 fishing year, and 8.55 million lb (3.88 million kg) for the 2019-
2020 fishing year.
    Amendment 26 would not revise the current Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel allocations (68 percent of the total ACL to the recreational 
sector and 32 percent to the commercial sector). Based on the existing 
allocations, the commercial ACLs proposed for Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel are: 2.95 million lb (1.34 million kg) for the 2016-2017 
fishing year, 2.84 million lb (1.29 million kg) for the 2017-2018 
fishing year, 2.79 million lb (1.27 million kg) for the 2018-2019 
fishing year, and 2.74 million lb (1.24 million kg) for the 2019-2020 
fishing year and subsequent fishing years.
    The Gulf migratory group commercial ACLs would be further divided 
each fishing year into gear-specific commercial ACLs for hook-and-line 
gear and for vessels fishing with run-around gillnet gear. The hook-
and-line component commercial ACLs (which applies to the entire Gulf) 
would be: 2,330,500 lb (1,057,097 kg) for the 2016-2017 fishing year, 
2,243,600 lb (1,017,680 kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 2,204,100 
lb (999,763 kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 2,164,600 lb 
(981,846 kg) for the 2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent years. The 
run-around gillnet component

[[Page 90317]]

commercial ACL (which applies to the Gulf southern zone) would be: 
619,500 lb (281,000 kg) for the 2016-2017 fishing year, 596,400 lb 
(270,522 kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 585,900 lb (265,760 kg) 
for the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 575,400 lb (260,997 kg) for the 
2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. The commercial 
quota by zones would also be modified (see below).
    The proposed recreational ACLs for Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel would be: 6.26 million lb (2.84 million kg) for the 2016-2017 
fishing year, 6.04 million lb (2.74 million kg) for the 2017-2018 
fishing year, 5.92 million lb (2.69 million kg) for the 2018-2019 
fishing year, and 5.81 million lb (2.64 million kg) for the 2019-2020 
fishing year and subsequent fishing years.

Commercial Zone Quotas for Gulf Migratory Group King Mackerel

    Amendment 26 would revise the Gulf migratory group commercial zone 
quotas, because of the proposed changes to the Councils' jurisdictional 
boundaries and resultant zone revisions. The current allocation of the 
commercial ACL for Gulf migratory group king mackerel by zones is: 31 
percent in the western zone, 5.17 percent in the northern zone, 15.96 
percent for the southern zone using hook-and-line gear, 15.96 percent 
for the southern zone using gillnet gear, and 31.91 percent for the 
Florida east coast subzone. However, under Amendment 26, the Florida 
east coast subzone would no longer exist and the quota associated with 
that zone would be re-allocated to the remaining zones. The revised 
allocation of commercial zone quotas for Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel would be: 40 percent in the western zone, 18 percent in the 
northern zone, 21 percent for the southern zone using hook-and-line 
gear, and 21 percent for the southern zone using gillnet gear.
    The proposed commercial quotas for the Gulf western zone would be: 
1,180,000 lb (535,239 kg) for the 2016-2017 fishing year, 1,136,000 lb 
(515,281 kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 1,116,000 lb (506,209 kg) 
for the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 1,096,000 lb (497,137 kg) for the 
2019-20 fishing year and subsequent fishing years.
    The proposed commercial quotas for the Gulf northern zone would be: 
531,000 lb (240,858 kg) for the 2016-2017 fishing year, 511,200 lb 
(231,876 kg) for the 2017-18 fishing year, 502,200 lb (227,794 kg) for 
the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 493,200 lb (223,712 kg) for the 2019-
2010 fishing year and subsequent fishing years.
    The proposed commercial hook-and-line and commercial run-around 
gillnet component quotas in the southern zone would be equal to each 
other for each fishing year and would be: 619,500 lb (281,000 kg) for 
the 2016-2017 fishing year, 596,400 lb (270,522 kg) for the 2017-2018 
fishing year, 585,900 lb (265,760 kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year, 
and 575,400 lb (260,997 kg) for the 2019-2020 fishing year and 
subsequent fishing years.

Allocation and the Recreational Bag Limit for Gulf Migratory Group of 
King Mackerel

    From the 2002-2003 fishing year through the 2013-2014 fishing year, 
the recreational sector's landings of the Gulf migratory group of king 
mackerel were consistently less than 50 percent of the recreational 
ACL, while the commercial sector's landings were consistently 90 
percent or more of the commercial ACL. In Amendment 26, the Councils 
considered but rejected, the possibility of reallocating from the 
recreational ACL to the commercial ACL and instead proposed an increase 
in the recreational bag limit for Gulf migratory group king mackerel 
from 2 fish per person per trip to 3 fish per person per trip. The 
Councils determined that this increased recreational bag limit would 
allow more opportunities for recreational anglers to harvest the 
recreational sector ACL.
    A proposed rule that would implement Amendment 26 has been drafted. 
In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is evaluating the 
proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMP, the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination 
is affirmative, NMFS will publish a proposed rule in the Federal 
Register for public review and comment.

Consideration of Public Comments

    The Councils have submitted Amendment 26 for Secretarial review, 
approval, and implementation. Comments on Amendment 26 must be received 
by February 13, 2017. Comments received during the respective comment 
periods, whether specifically directed to the amendment or the proposed 
rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, 
disapprove, or partially approve Amendment 26.
    All comments received by NMFS on the amendment or the proposed rule 
during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final 
rule.

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

    Dated: December 9, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-30046 Filed 12-13-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P