Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Adjustments to 2017 Management Area Annual Catch Limits, 95494-95495 [2016-31392]

Download as PDF 95494 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 249 / Wednesday, December 28, 2016 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 160906823–6999–01] RIN 0648–XE876 2016–2017 Specifications to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP), are available from the Sustainable Fisheries Division, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930, telephone (978) 281–9315, or online at: http:// www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainable/species/atlherring/ index.html. Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Adjustments to 2017 Management Area Annual Catch Limits FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary final rule; adjustment of specifications. Background AGENCY: In accordance with the regulations implementing the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan, this action adjusts the 2017 catch limits in the four herring management areas (Areas 1A, 1B, 2, and 3) to account for underages in those areas during 2015. In order to ensure that the carryover of underages do not cause overfishing of the herring resource, management areaspecific carryover does not increase the stock-wide annual catch limit. This action is necessary to ensure that NMFS accounts for herring catch consistent with the requirements of the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan. DATES: Effective December 28, 2016, through December 31, 2017. ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents, including the 2013–2015 Specifications/Framework 2 and the SUMMARY: Shannah Jaburek, Fishery Management Specialist, 978–282–8456, fax 978–281– 9135. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic herring harvest in the United States is managed under the FMP developed by the New England Fishery Management Council (Council). The FMP divides the stock-wide herring annual catch limit (ACL) among three management areas, one of which has two sub-areas. It divides Area 1 (located in the Gulf of Maine (GOM)) into an inshore section (Area 1A) and an offshore section (Area 1B). Area 2 is located in the coastal waters between Massachusetts and North Carolina, and Area 3 is on Georges Bank (GB). The FMP considers the herring stock complex to be a single stock, but there are inshore (GOM) and offshore (GB) stock components. The GOM and GB stock components segregate during spawning and mix during feeding and migration. Each management area has its own sub-ACL to allow greater control of the fishing mortality on each stock component. NMFS issued a final rule that implemented Amendment 4 to the FMP (76 FR 11373, March 2, 2011) to address ACL and accountability measure (AM) requirements. As a way to account for ACL/sub-ACL overages in the herring fishery, Amendment 4 established an AM that requires NMFS to deduct any ACL/sub-ACL overages from the corresponding ACL/sub-ACL in the year following the catch overage determination. Amendment 4 also specified that NMFS will announce overage deductions in the Federal Register prior to the start of the fishing year, if possible. NMFS also published a final rule implementing Framework 2 to the FMP and the 2013–2015 specifications for the herring fishery on October 4, 2013 (78 FR 61828). Among other measures, Framework 2 allowed for the carryover of unharvested allocations (underages) in the year immediately following the catch determination. Up to 10 percent of each sub-ACL may be carried over and added to the following year’s sub-ACL, provided total catch did not exceed the stock-wide ACL. The carryover provision allows a sub-ACL increase for a management area, but it does not allow a corresponding increase to the stock-wide ACL. NMFS published the 2016–2018 specifications for the herring fishery on November 1, 2016 (81 FR 75731). Table 1 outlines the 2017 herring sub-ACLs, minus deductions for research set-aside catch (RSA), that will be effective on January 1, 2017. RSA equal to 3 percent of each sub-ACL has been awarded to two research projects. TABLE 1—2017 HERRING SUB-ACLS [mt] 2017 sub-ACLs Area 1A ........................................................................................................................................ Area 1B ........................................................................................................................................ Area 2 .......................................................................................................................................... Area 3 .......................................................................................................................................... Stock-wide ................................................................................................................................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Provisions Implemented Through This Final Rule NMFS completed the 2015 catch determination in December 2016, and determined that the herring fishery caught less than its allocated catch in VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Dec 27, 2016 Jkt 241001 2015 in all four herring management areas (Areas 1A, 1B, 2, and 3). As a result, this action carries over unharvested 2015 catch to the 2017 herring sub-ACL in all four areas. This carryover equals to the amount of each PO 00000 Frm 00098 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 30,300 4,500 29,100 40,900 104,800 Research set-aside (3 percent of sub-ACLs) 909 135 873 1,227 3,144 2017 sub-ACLs (minus RSA) 29,391 4,365 28,227 39,673 101,656 area’s underages (or up to ten percent of the allocated 2015 sub-ACL, whichever is less) for Areas 1A, 1B, 2, and 3. Table 2 provides catch details for 2015 and corresponding adjustments for 2017 sub-ACLs. E:\FR\FM\28DER1.SGM 28DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 249 / Wednesday, December 28, 2016 / Rules and Regulations 95495 TABLE 2—HERRING SUB-ACLS, CATCH, AND CARRYOVER [mt] Adjusted 2015 sub-ACLs Area 1A .................................................... Area 1B .................................................... Area 2 ...................................................... Area 3 ...................................................... Stock-wide ................................................ 30,585 4,922 32,100 44,910 104,566 2015 Catch 2015 Underages 28,861 2,819 15,114 33,217 80,011 Carryover * (up to 10 percent) 1,724 2,103 16,986 11,693 24,555 1,724 460 3,000 4,200 NA 2017 sub-ACLs Adjusted 2017 sub-ACLs 29,391 4,365 28,227 39,673 101,656 31,115 4,825 31,227 43,873 **101,656 * Maximum carryover, where applicable, is based on 10 percent of initial 2015 sub-ACLs: Area 1A, 31,200 mt; Area 1B, 4,600 mt; Area 2, 30,000 mt; and Area 3, 42,000 mt. ** The 2017 stock-wide ACL cannot be increased by carryover. NMFS calculated the amount of herring landings in 2015 based on dealer reports (Federal and state) of herring purchases, supplemented by vessel trip reports (VTRs) and vessel monitoring system (VMS) reports (Federal and State of Maine) of herring landings. NMFS generally uses dealer reports to estimate herring landings. However, if the amount of herring reported via VTR exceeded the amount of herring reported by the dealer by 10 percent or more, NMFS assumes the dealer report for that trip was in error and uses the VTR report instead. NMFS assigns herring landings to individual herring management areas using VMS reports or using latitude and longitude coordinates from VTR reports when a VMS report is not available. NMFS uses recent fishing activity to assign landings to a management area if dealer reports do not have a corresponding VTR or VMS catch report. NMFS estimates herring discards by extrapolating discards from herring trips observed by the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program to all herring trips (observed and unobserved) according to gear and herring management area. Because RSA is removed from management area sub-ACLs at the beginning of the fishery year, NMFS tracks RSA catch but does not count it towards the herring sub-ACLs. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is consistent with the FMP, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Dec 27, 2016 Jkt 241001 other provisions of the MSA, and other applicable law. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action. Notice and comment are impracticable and contrary to the public interest because a delay would potentially impair achievement of the management plan’s objectives of preventing overfishing and achieving optimum yield due by impairing a vessel’s ability to harvest available catch allocations. Allowing for prior notice and public comment on this adjustment is also impracticable because regulations require notification of adjustments, if possible, before the herring fishing year begins on January 1, 2017. Further, this is a nondiscretionary action required by provisions of Amendment 4 and Framework 2, which were previously subject to public notice and comment. The adjustments required by these regulations are formulaic. This action simply effectuates these mandatory calculations. The proposed and final rules for Framework 2 and Amendment 4 explained the need and likelihood for adjustments to the subACLs based on final catch amounts. Framework 2, specifically, provided prior notice of the need to distribute carryover catch. These actions provided a full opportunity for the public to comment on the substance and process of this action. For the same reasons as noted above, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effective date and make the rule effective upon publication in the PO 00000 Frm 00099 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 Federal Register. To prevent confusion and potential overharvests, it will be in the best interest of the fleet and the herring resource to set the adjusted subACLs as soon as possible. Two areas are currently closed due to seasonal closures and will open on either May 1 (i.e., Management Areas 1B) or June 1 (i.e., Management Area 1A). Management Areas 2 and 3 are already open and subject to a lower catch limit until NMFS implements this action. The adjustments in this notice increase the amount of catch available to fishermen. Putting in place the adjusted sub-ACLs as soon as possible will provide the fleet with an opportunity to develop their business plans in sufficient time to facilitate their full harvest of available catch in the open areas. This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 subpart K and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. This final rule does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act. Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are inapplicable. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: December 22, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–31392 Filed 12–27–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\28DER1.SGM 28DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 249 (Wednesday, December 28, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 95494-95495]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-31392]



[[Page 95494]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 160906823-6999-01]
RIN 0648-XE876


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring 
Fishery; Adjustments to 2017 Management Area Annual Catch Limits

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

ACTION: Temporary final rule; adjustment of specifications.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the regulations implementing the Atlantic 
Herring Fishery Management Plan, this action adjusts the 2017 catch 
limits in the four herring management areas (Areas 1A, 1B, 2, and 3) to 
account for underages in those areas during 2015. In order to ensure 
that the carryover of underages do not cause overfishing of the herring 
resource, management area-specific carryover does not increase the 
stock-wide annual catch limit. This action is necessary to ensure that 
NMFS accounts for herring catch consistent with the requirements of the 
Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan.

DATES: Effective December 28, 2016, through December 31, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents, including the 2013-2015 
Specifications/Framework 2 and the 2016-2017 Specifications to the 
Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP), are available from the 
Sustainable Fisheries Division, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries 
Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930, telephone (978) 
281-9315, or online at: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/species/atlherring/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shannah Jaburek, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-282-8456, fax 978-281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Atlantic herring harvest in the United States is managed under 
the FMP developed by the New England Fishery Management Council 
(Council). The FMP divides the stock-wide herring annual catch limit 
(ACL) among three management areas, one of which has two sub-areas. It 
divides Area 1 (located in the Gulf of Maine (GOM)) into an inshore 
section (Area 1A) and an offshore section (Area 1B). Area 2 is located 
in the coastal waters between Massachusetts and North Carolina, and 
Area 3 is on Georges Bank (GB). The FMP considers the herring stock 
complex to be a single stock, but there are inshore (GOM) and offshore 
(GB) stock components. The GOM and GB stock components segregate during 
spawning and mix during feeding and migration. Each management area has 
its own sub-ACL to allow greater control of the fishing mortality on 
each stock component.
    NMFS issued a final rule that implemented Amendment 4 to the FMP 
(76 FR 11373, March 2, 2011) to address ACL and accountability measure 
(AM) requirements. As a way to account for ACL/sub-ACL overages in the 
herring fishery, Amendment 4 established an AM that requires NMFS to 
deduct any ACL/sub-ACL overages from the corresponding ACL/sub-ACL in 
the year following the catch overage determination. Amendment 4 also 
specified that NMFS will announce overage deductions in the Federal 
Register prior to the start of the fishing year, if possible.
    NMFS also published a final rule implementing Framework 2 to the 
FMP and the 2013-2015 specifications for the herring fishery on October 
4, 2013 (78 FR 61828). Among other measures, Framework 2 allowed for 
the carryover of unharvested allocations (underages) in the year 
immediately following the catch determination. Up to 10 percent of each 
sub-ACL may be carried over and added to the following year's sub-ACL, 
provided total catch did not exceed the stock-wide ACL. The carryover 
provision allows a sub-ACL increase for a management area, but it does 
not allow a corresponding increase to the stock-wide ACL.
    NMFS published the 2016-2018 specifications for the herring fishery 
on November 1, 2016 (81 FR 75731). Table 1 outlines the 2017 herring 
sub-ACLs, minus deductions for research set-aside catch (RSA), that 
will be effective on January 1, 2017. RSA equal to 3 percent of each 
sub-ACL has been awarded to two research projects.

                                         Table 1--2017 Herring Sub-ACLs
                                                      [mt]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Research set-
                                                                                     aside (3      2017 sub-ACLs
                                                                   2017 sub-ACLs  percent of sub-   (minus RSA)
                                                                                       ACLs)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Area 1A.........................................................          30,300             909          29,391
Area 1B.........................................................           4,500             135           4,365
Area 2..........................................................          29,100             873          28,227
Area 3..........................................................          40,900           1,227          39,673
Stock-wide......................................................         104,800           3,144         101,656
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Provisions Implemented Through This Final Rule

    NMFS completed the 2015 catch determination in December 2016, and 
determined that the herring fishery caught less than its allocated 
catch in 2015 in all four herring management areas (Areas 1A, 1B, 2, 
and 3). As a result, this action carries over unharvested 2015 catch to 
the 2017 herring sub-ACL in all four areas. This carryover equals to 
the amount of each area's underages (or up to ten percent of the 
allocated 2015 sub-ACL, whichever is less) for Areas 1A, 1B, 2, and 3. 
Table 2 provides catch details for 2015 and corresponding adjustments 
for 2017 sub-ACLs.

[[Page 95495]]



                                                     Table 2--Herring Sub-ACLs, Catch, and Carryover
                                                                          [mt]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                            Carryover *
                                                           Adjusted 2015    2015 Catch         2015          (up to 10     2017 sub-ACLs   Adjusted 2017
                                                             sub-ACLs                        Underages       percent)                        sub-ACLs
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Area 1A.................................................          30,585          28,861           1,724           1,724          29,391          31,115
Area 1B.................................................           4,922           2,819           2,103             460           4,365           4,825
Area 2..................................................          32,100          15,114          16,986           3,000          28,227          31,227
Area 3..................................................          44,910          33,217          11,693           4,200          39,673          43,873
Stock-wide..............................................         104,566          80,011          24,555              NA         101,656       **101,656
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Maximum carryover, where applicable, is based on 10 percent of initial 2015 sub-ACLs: Area 1A, 31,200 mt; Area 1B, 4,600 mt; Area 2, 30,000 mt; and
  Area 3, 42,000 mt.
** The 2017 stock-wide ACL cannot be increased by carryover.

    NMFS calculated the amount of herring landings in 2015 based on 
dealer reports (Federal and state) of herring purchases, supplemented 
by vessel trip reports (VTRs) and vessel monitoring system (VMS) 
reports (Federal and State of Maine) of herring landings. NMFS 
generally uses dealer reports to estimate herring landings. However, if 
the amount of herring reported via VTR exceeded the amount of herring 
reported by the dealer by 10 percent or more, NMFS assumes the dealer 
report for that trip was in error and uses the VTR report instead. NMFS 
assigns herring landings to individual herring management areas using 
VMS reports or using latitude and longitude coordinates from VTR 
reports when a VMS report is not available. NMFS uses recent fishing 
activity to assign landings to a management area if dealer reports do 
not have a corresponding VTR or VMS catch report.
    NMFS estimates herring discards by extrapolating discards from 
herring trips observed by the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program to 
all herring trips (observed and unobserved) according to gear and 
herring management area. Because RSA is removed from management area 
sub-ACLs at the beginning of the fishery year, NMFS tracks RSA catch 
but does not count it towards the herring sub-ACLs.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the NMFS Assistant Administrator 
has determined that this final rule is consistent with the FMP, other 
provisions of the MSA, and other applicable law.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior 
notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action. Notice and 
comment are impracticable and contrary to the public interest because a 
delay would potentially impair achievement of the management plan's 
objectives of preventing overfishing and achieving optimum yield due by 
impairing a vessel's ability to harvest available catch allocations. 
Allowing for prior notice and public comment on this adjustment is also 
impracticable because regulations require notification of adjustments, 
if possible, before the herring fishing year begins on January 1, 2017. 
Further, this is a nondiscretionary action required by provisions of 
Amendment 4 and Framework 2, which were previously subject to public 
notice and comment. The adjustments required by these regulations are 
formulaic. This action simply effectuates these mandatory calculations. 
The proposed and final rules for Framework 2 and Amendment 4 explained 
the need and likelihood for adjustments to the sub-ACLs based on final 
catch amounts. Framework 2, specifically, provided prior notice of the 
need to distribute carryover catch. These actions provided a full 
opportunity for the public to comment on the substance and process of 
this action.
    For the same reasons as noted above, there is good cause under 5 
U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effective date and make 
the rule effective upon publication in the Federal Register. To prevent 
confusion and potential overharvests, it will be in the best interest 
of the fleet and the herring resource to set the adjusted sub-ACLs as 
soon as possible. Two areas are currently closed due to seasonal 
closures and will open on either May 1 (i.e., Management Areas 1B) or 
June 1 (i.e., Management Area 1A). Management Areas 2 and 3 are already 
open and subject to a lower catch limit until NMFS implements this 
action. The adjustments in this notice increase the amount of catch 
available to fishermen. Putting in place the adjusted sub-ACLs as soon 
as possible will provide the fleet with an opportunity to develop their 
business plans in sufficient time to facilitate their full harvest of 
available catch in the open areas.
    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 subpart K and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule does not contain a collection-of-information 
requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.
    Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not 
required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the 
analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 
et seq., are inapplicable.

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

    Dated: December 22, 2016.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-31392 Filed 12-27-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P