Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Skate Complex Fishery; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping Process; Request for Comments, 9200-9201 [2017-02307]

Download as PDF asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 9200 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 22 / Friday, February 3, 2017 / Notices Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Title: West Coast Swordfish Fishery Survey. OMB Control Number: 0648–xxxx. Form Number(s): None. Type of Request: Regular (request for a new information collection). Number of Respondents: 77. Average Hours per Response: 1 hour. Burden Hours: 77. Needs and Uses: This request is for a new information collection. The Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) is undertaking an economics data collection effort for the West Coast Swordfish Fishery (WCSF) in order to improve the SWFSC’s capability to do the following: (1) Describe and monitor economic performance (e.g., profitability, capacity utilization, efficiency, and productivity) and impacts (e.g., sector, community, or region-specific employment and income); (2) determine the quantity and distribution of net benefits derived from living marine resources; (3) understand and predict the ecological, and behavior of participants in Federally managed commercial fisheries; (4) predict the biological, ecological, and economic impacts of existing management measures and alternative proposed management actions; and (5) in general, more effectively conduct the analyses required under the MSA, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPDA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), Executive Order 12866, and other applicable laws. Affected Public: Business or other forprofit organizations. Frequency: One time only. Respondent’s Obligation: Voluntary. This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov or fax to (202) 395–5806. Dated: January 31, 2017. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2017–02296 Filed 2–2–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Feb 02, 2017 Jkt 241001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF094 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Skate Complex Fishery; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping Process; Request for Comments National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Announcement of revised scoping hearing schedule; request for comments. AGENCY: The New England Fishery Management Council announces its intent to prepare, in cooperation with NMFS, a draft environmental impact statement consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act. A draft environmental impact statement may be necessary to provide analytic support for Amendment 5 to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan. This notice alerts the interested public of the scoping process for a potential draft environmental impact statement and outlines opportunity for public participation in that process. DATES: Written and electronic scoping comments must be received on or before March 6, 2017. ADDRESSES: Written scoping comments on Amendment 5 may be sent by any of the following methods: • Email to the following address: comments@nefmc.org; • Mail to: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950; or • Fax to: (978) 465–3116. Requests for copies of the Amendment 5 scoping document and other information should be directed to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950, telephone (978) 465–0492. The scoping document is accessible electronically via the Internet at http:// www.nefmc.org. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, (978) 465–0492. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background The New England Fishery Management Council, working through PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 its public participatory committee and meeting processes, anticipates the development of an amendment to consider limited access to the skate (bait and non-bait) fishery that may require an environmental impact statement (82 FR 825, January 4, 2017). This notice announces a revised public scoping hearing schedule as outlined in Table 1 to meet applicable criteria in the Council on Environmental Quality regulations and guidance for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Amendment 5 will consider limited access to the skate (bait and non-bait) fishery. The Northeast Skate Complex is comprised of seven species (barndoor, clearnose, little, rosette, smooth, thorny, and winter skate), managed as a single unit along the east coast from Maine to Cape Hatteras, NC. The skate bait fishery primarily targets little skate, with a small component of winter skate catch. The non-bait fishery, including the wing fishery, primarily targets winter skate. Following the first skate stock assessment in 1999, the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan was adopted in 2003. Amendment 3 established an annual catch limit and annual catch target for the skate complex, total allowable landings for the skate bait and non-bait fisheries, seasonal quotas for the bait fishery, new possession limits, and in-season possession limit triggers. The skate fishery is an open access fishery—any vessel may join or leave the fishery at any time. Skate fishermen are concerned that increasingly strict regulations in other fisheries— particularly in the Northeast Multispecies (groundfish) fishery where several stocks are overfished and subject to strict catch restrictions—might cause these fishermen to switch their fishing effort onto skates. An increase in effort in the skate fishery could cause the fishery to harvest its catch limit in a shorter time period, trigger reduced skate trip limits, or have other negative economic impacts on current participants since developing skate markets could be negatively impacted by a flood of product. A control date for the bait fishery was established on July 30, 2009 (74 FR 37977). A control date for the non-bait fishery was established on March 31, 2014 (79 FR 18002). The control dates may be used as a reference date for future management measures related to such rulemaking. The Council has initiated the development of this amendment to address three issues: E:\FR\FM\03FEN1.SGM 03FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 22 / Friday, February 3, 2017 / Notices • Limited access qualification criteria that would determine whether vessels may target skate. These criteria may differ by stock or management area and may treat older history differently than newer history; • Limited access permit conditions (transfers, ownership caps, ‘history’ permits, etc.); and • Permit categories and associated measures. The amendment’s objective would be to establish qualification criteria for skate (bait and non-bait ‘‘wing’’) fishing permits and possibly different qualification criteria or catch limits for each fishery, considering how they operate differently. For example, in the wing fishery, it may be desirable to have different permit tiers that distinguish between skate vessels that currently target skate, historically targeted, and/or vessels that catch and land small quantities. Qualification criteria might include several factors such as, but not limited to, the time period vessels have participated in the fishery (possibly using the control dates established for this fishery), historic levels of landings, and dependency on the fishery. The Council may consider limiting access to the skate (bait and non-bait) fishery in a manner that may affect individual permit holder access to skates depending on the qualification criteria and other permit conditions developed. Based on individual fishing history, a vessel that has targeted skate may be distinguished differently from a vessel that caught and landed skates while fishing for other species. Landing limits for qualifiers and non-qualifiers could therefore be more consistent with the type of fishing that these vessels conduct in order to minimize discarding and economic effects. For example, the bait skate fishery currently requires a letter of authorization, but has substantially larger landing limits than the wing fishery. Some historic participants in the Northeast Skate Complex fisheries also may desire limited access privileges (a catch share program, for example). Following the scoping period, the Council and its Skate Committee will identify the specific goals and objectives of the amendment and develop alternatives to meet the purpose and need of the action. With input from its committees and the public, the Council would select a range of alternatives to implement limited access in the skate fishery. Public Comment All persons affected by or otherwise interested in Northeast skate management are invited to comment on the scope and significance of issues to be analyzed by submitting written comments (see ADDRESSES) or by attending one of the six scoping meetings for this amendment. Scoping 9201 consists of identifying the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts to be considered. At this time in the process, the Council believes that the alternatives considered in Amendment 5 should include limited access to the skate fishery. After the scoping process is completed, the Council will begin development of Amendment 5 and, if necessary, will prepare a draft EIS to analyze the impacts of the range of alternatives under consideration. Impacts may be direct, individual, or cumulative. The Council will hold public hearings to receive comments on the draft amendment and on the analysis of its impacts presented in the draft EIS. The hearings will be recorded. Consistent with U.S.C. 1852, a copy of the recordings are available upon request. In addition to soliciting comment on this notice, the public will have the opportunity to comment on the measures and alternatives being considered by the Council through public meetings and public comment periods consistent with NEPA, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Any amendment developed and approved by the Council would have to be approved and implemented by NMFS. The Council will take and discuss scoping comments on this amendment at the public meetings listed in Table 1. TABLE 1—PAST AND UPCOMING AMENDMENT 5 PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING INFORMATION Meeting date and time Meeting location Portsmouth, NH, Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 5 p.m. (or immediately following the Council Meeting). Via Webinar, Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 6–8 p.m ................................ Sheraton Harborside Hotel, 250 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 04101, Telephone: (603) 431–2300. Webinar Hearing, Register to participate:, https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/194149773, Call in info: Toll: +1 (646) 749– 3122, Access Code: 194–149–773. Mass Maritime, 101 Academy Drive, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532, Telephone: (508) 830–5000. Graduate School of Oceanography, Coastal Institute Building–Hazard Room, 215 S Ferry Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882, Telephone: (401) 874–6222. Grand Hotel of Cape May, 1045 Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204, Telephone: (609) 884–5611. Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation, Inc., 240 Edgemere St., Montauk, New York 11954, Telephone: (631) 668– 1124. Buzzards Bay, MA, Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 6 p.m.–8 p.m .............. Narragnasett, RI, Thursday, February 9, 2017, 6 p.m.–8 p.m ................ asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ***PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE***: Cape May, NJ, Thursday, February 21, 2017, 6 p.m.–8 p.m. ***PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE***: Montauk, NY, Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 6 p.m.–8 p.m. A scoping document with additional background information is available on the Council’s Web site at http:// www.nefmc.org/management-plans/ skates or may be obtained by contacting the Council. Additional information on the scoping meetings can be accessed online at http://www.nefmc.org/. Special Accommodations The meetings are accessible to people with physical disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Thomas A. Nies (see ADDRESSES) at least five days prior to each meeting date. Dated: January 31, 2017. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–02307 Filed 2–2–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:26 Feb 02, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\03FEN1.SGM 03FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 22 (Friday, February 3, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9200-9201]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-02307]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XF094


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Skate 
Complex Fishery; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement; Scoping Process; Request for Comments

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

ACTION: Announcement of revised scoping hearing schedule; request for 
comments.

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

SUMMARY: The New England Fishery Management Council announces its 
intent to prepare, in cooperation with NMFS, a draft environmental 
impact statement consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act. 
A draft environmental impact statement may be necessary to provide 
analytic support for Amendment 5 to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery 
Management Plan. This notice alerts the interested public of the 
scoping process for a potential draft environmental impact statement 
and outlines opportunity for public participation in that process.

DATES: Written and electronic scoping comments must be received on or 
before March 6, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Written scoping comments on Amendment 5 may be sent by any 
of the following methods:
     Email to the following address: comments@nefmc.org;
     Mail to: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England 
Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 
01950; or
     Fax to: (978) 465-3116.
    Requests for copies of the Amendment 5 scoping document and other 
information should be directed to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, 
New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, 
Newburyport, MA 01950, telephone (978) 465-0492.
    The scoping document is accessible electronically via the Internet 
at http://www.nefmc.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, 
New England Fishery Management Council, (978) 465-0492.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The New England Fishery Management Council, working through its 
public participatory committee and meeting processes, anticipates the 
development of an amendment to consider limited access to the skate 
(bait and non-bait) fishery that may require an environmental impact 
statement (82 FR 825, January 4, 2017). This notice announces a revised 
public scoping hearing schedule as outlined in Table 1 to meet 
applicable criteria in the Council on Environmental Quality regulations 
and guidance for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA). Amendment 5 will consider limited access to the skate (bait and 
non-bait) fishery.
    The Northeast Skate Complex is comprised of seven species 
(barndoor, clearnose, little, rosette, smooth, thorny, and winter 
skate), managed as a single unit along the east coast from Maine to 
Cape Hatteras, NC. The skate bait fishery primarily targets little 
skate, with a small component of winter skate catch. The non-bait 
fishery, including the wing fishery, primarily targets winter skate.
    Following the first skate stock assessment in 1999, the Northeast 
Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan was adopted in 2003. Amendment 3 
established an annual catch limit and annual catch target for the skate 
complex, total allowable landings for the skate bait and non-bait 
fisheries, seasonal quotas for the bait fishery, new possession limits, 
and in-season possession limit triggers.
    The skate fishery is an open access fishery--any vessel may join or 
leave the fishery at any time. Skate fishermen are concerned that 
increasingly strict regulations in other fisheries-- particularly in 
the Northeast Multispecies (groundfish) fishery where several stocks 
are overfished and subject to strict catch restrictions--might cause 
these fishermen to switch their fishing effort onto skates. An increase 
in effort in the skate fishery could cause the fishery to harvest its 
catch limit in a shorter time period, trigger reduced skate trip 
limits, or have other negative economic impacts on current participants 
since developing skate markets could be negatively impacted by a flood 
of product.
    A control date for the bait fishery was established on July 30, 
2009 (74 FR 37977). A control date for the non-bait fishery was 
established on March 31, 2014 (79 FR 18002). The control dates may be 
used as a reference date for future management measures related to such 
rulemaking.
    The Council has initiated the development of this amendment to 
address three issues:

[[Page 9201]]

     Limited access qualification criteria that would determine 
whether vessels may target skate. These criteria may differ by stock or 
management area and may treat older history differently than newer 
history;
     Limited access permit conditions (transfers, ownership 
caps, `history' permits, etc.); and
     Permit categories and associated measures.
    The amendment's objective would be to establish qualification 
criteria for skate (bait and non-bait ``wing'') fishing permits and 
possibly different qualification criteria or catch limits for each 
fishery, considering how they operate differently. For example, in the 
wing fishery, it may be desirable to have different permit tiers that 
distinguish between skate vessels that currently target skate, 
historically targeted, and/or vessels that catch and land small 
quantities. Qualification criteria might include several factors such 
as, but not limited to, the time period vessels have participated in 
the fishery (possibly using the control dates established for this 
fishery), historic levels of landings, and dependency on the fishery.
    The Council may consider limiting access to the skate (bait and 
non-bait) fishery in a manner that may affect individual permit holder 
access to skates depending on the qualification criteria and other 
permit conditions developed. Based on individual fishing history, a 
vessel that has targeted skate may be distinguished differently from a 
vessel that caught and landed skates while fishing for other species. 
Landing limits for qualifiers and non-qualifiers could therefore be 
more consistent with the type of fishing that these vessels conduct in 
order to minimize discarding and economic effects. For example, the 
bait skate fishery currently requires a letter of authorization, but 
has substantially larger landing limits than the wing fishery. Some 
historic participants in the Northeast Skate Complex fisheries also may 
desire limited access privileges (a catch share program, for example).
    Following the scoping period, the Council and its Skate Committee 
will identify the specific goals and objectives of the amendment and 
develop alternatives to meet the purpose and need of the action. With 
input from its committees and the public, the Council would select a 
range of alternatives to implement limited access in the skate fishery.

Public Comment

    All persons affected by or otherwise interested in Northeast skate 
management are invited to comment on the scope and significance of 
issues to be analyzed by submitting written comments (see ADDRESSES) or 
by attending one of the six scoping meetings for this amendment. 
Scoping consists of identifying the range of actions, alternatives, and 
impacts to be considered. At this time in the process, the Council 
believes that the alternatives considered in Amendment 5 should include 
limited access to the skate fishery. After the scoping process is 
completed, the Council will begin development of Amendment 5 and, if 
necessary, will prepare a draft EIS to analyze the impacts of the range 
of alternatives under consideration. Impacts may be direct, individual, 
or cumulative.
    The Council will hold public hearings to receive comments on the 
draft amendment and on the analysis of its impacts presented in the 
draft EIS. The hearings will be recorded. Consistent with U.S.C. 1852, 
a copy of the recordings are available upon request. In addition to 
soliciting comment on this notice, the public will have the opportunity 
to comment on the measures and alternatives being considered by the 
Council through public meetings and public comment periods consistent 
with NEPA, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Any amendment developed and 
approved by the Council would have to be approved and implemented by 
NMFS.
    The Council will take and discuss scoping comments on this 
amendment at the public meetings listed in Table 1.

      Table 1--Past and Upcoming Amendment 5 Public Scoping Meeting
                               Information
------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Meeting date and time                   Meeting location
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Portsmouth, NH, Tuesday, January 24,     Sheraton Harborside Hotel, 250
 2017, 5 p.m. (or immediately following   Market Street, Portsmouth, NH
 the Council Meeting).                    03801 04101, Telephone: (603)
                                          431-2300.
Via Webinar, Tuesday, January 31, 2017,  Webinar Hearing, Register to
 6-8 p.m.                                 participate:, https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/194149773 194149773, Call in info: Toll:
                                          +1 (646) 749-3122, Access
                                          Code: 194-149-773.
Buzzards Bay, MA, Tuesday, February 7,   Mass Maritime, 101 Academy
 2017, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.                      Drive, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532,
                                          Telephone: (508) 830-5000.
Narragnasett, RI, Thursday, February 9,  Graduate School of
 2017, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.                      Oceanography, Coastal
                                          Institute Building-Hazard
                                          Room, 215 S Ferry Rd,
                                          Narragansett, RI 02882,
                                          Telephone: (401) 874-6222.
***PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE***: Cape May,    Grand Hotel of Cape May, 1045
 NJ, Thursday, February 21, 2017, 6       Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ
 p.m.-8 p.m.                              08204, Telephone: (609) 884-
                                          5611.
***PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE***: Montauk,     Montauk Playhouse Community
 NY, Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 6      Center Foundation, Inc., 240
 p.m.-8 p.m.                              Edgemere St., Montauk, New
                                          York 11954, Telephone: (631)
                                          668-1124.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A scoping document with additional background information is 
available on the Council's Web site at http://www.nefmc.org/management-plans/skates or may be obtained by contacting the Council. Additional 
information on the scoping meetings can be accessed online at http://www.nefmc.org/.

Special Accommodations

    The meetings are accessible to people with physical disabilities. 
Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids 
should be directed to Thomas A. Nies (see ADDRESSES) at least five days 
prior to each meeting date.

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

    Dated: January 31, 2017.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-02307 Filed 2-2-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P