Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Framework Amendment 4, 11166-11170 [2017-03290]

Download as PDF 11166 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules received prior to recent amendments to WTC Health Program regulations regarding petitions for additions to the List taking effect.11 The Petition was evaluated pursuant to the regulations and policies in effect at the time of its receipt 12 and, therefore, Petition 014 was considered valid. Future such submissions requesting the addition of autoimmune diseases to the List and providing the same peer-reviewed, published, epidemiologic evidence, however, may not be considered valid in accordance with 42 CFR 88.16(a)(5), as amended. In accordance with WTC Health Program policy, the medical basis for a potential addition to the List may be demonstrated by reference to a peerreviewed, published epidemiologic study about the health condition among 9/11-exposed populations or to clinical case reports of health conditions in WTC responders or survivors.13 Petition 014 presented an online news article 14 announcing the online publication of a study published by Webber et al. [2015], entitled ‘‘Nested Case-Control Study of Selected Systemic Autoimmune Diseases in World Trade Center Rescue/ Recovery Workers.’’ 15 Because Webber et al. [2015] is a peer-reviewed, published epidemiologic study of autoimmune diseases among 9/11exposed responders and survivors, the petition was considered valid. Accordingly, the Program conducted a review of available scientific information regarding the causal association between 9/11 exposure and autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. C. Review of Scientific and Medical Information and Administrator Determination rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS A literature search conducted in response to Petition 007 16 included all of the autoimmune conditions in the Evidence,’’ 81 FR 24047 (April 25, 2016); and ‘‘World Trade Center Health Program; Petition 013—Autoimmune Disease; Finding of Insufficient Evidence,’’ 81 FR 60329 (Sept. 1, 2016). 11 See ‘‘World Trade Center Health Program; Amendments to Definitions, Appeals, and Other Requirements; Final Rule,’’ 81 FR 90926 (Dec. 15, 2016), effective Jan. 17, 2017. 12 See 42 CFR 88.17 (2016); see also 77 FR 24628 (Apr. 25, 2012). 13 See supra note 2. 14 Boynes-Shuck A [2015], Why Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Plaguing 9/11 First Responders, Healthline News, http://www.healthline.com/ health-news/why-rheumatoid-arthritis-is-plaguing9-11-first-responders-040415#1. 15 Webber M, Moir W, Zeig-Owens R, et al. [2015], Nested Case-Control Study of Selected Systemic Autoimmune Diseases in World Trade Center Rescue/Recovery Workers, Arthritis Rheumatol 67(5):1369–1376. 16 80 FR 32333 (June 8, 2015). VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:44 Feb 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 2015 Webber study; the Program conducted updates of that literature search in response to Petition 011 and Petition 013, looking for relevant studies published since the date of the previous literature search.17 In reviewing Petition 014, the Program conducted a search 18 to update the results of the previous literature review for all of the types of autoimmune diseases identified in the 2015 Webber et al. study.19 The Program identified one new reference since the publication of the Petition 013 FRN in September 2016, a conference abstract regarding sarcoidosis in 9/11-exposed firefighters.20 Upon review, the abstract was determined not to be relevant because it is not a published epidemiologic study in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The literature review did not identify any newly-published, relevant studies of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, in the 9/11exposed population.21 Therefore, in accordance with the Program policy discussed above, the Program was unable to further evaluate Petition 014. D. Administrator’s Final Decision on Whether To Propose the Addition of Autoimmune Diseases to the List Finding no newly-published, relevant studies with regard to Petition 014, the Administrator has accordingly determined that insufficient evidence is available to take further action at this time, including either proposing the addition of autoimmune diseases, 17 See 81 FR 24047 (April 25, 2016) and 81 FR 60329 (Sept. 1, 2016), respectively. 18 Databases searched include: CINAHL, Embase, NIOSHTIC–2, ProQuest Health and Safety Science Abstracts, PubMed, Scopus, Toxicology Abstracts, and TOXLINE. 19 Rheumatoid arthritis; spondyloarthritis; inflammatory myositis (polymyositis and dermatomyositis); systemic lupus erythematosus; systemic sclerosis (scleroderma); Sjogren’s syndrome; antiphospholipid syndrome; granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s); and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Churg-Strauss). 20 Hena K, Yip J, Jaber N, et al. [2016], Clinical Characteristics of Sarcoidosis in World Trade Center (WTC) Exposed Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) Firefighters, Chest 150(4S):514A. 21 Two relevant studies identified in previous FRNs, Webber et al. [2015] and Webber M, Moir W, Crowson C, et al. [2016], Post-September 11, 2001, Incidence of Systemic Autoimmune Diseases in World Trade Center-Exposed Firefighters and Emergency Medical Service Workers, Mayo Clin Proc 2016;91(1):23–32, were reviewed in the Petition 011 and Petition 013 FRNs and found not to have the potential to provide a basis for a decision on whether to propose adding autoimmune diseases to the List. These studies are not further discussed in this notice; discussions of the Administrator’s findings with regard to these studies may be found in previous notices for Petition 011, 81 FR 24047 (April 25, 2016) and Petition 013, 81 FR 60329 (Sept. 1, 2016). PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 including rheumatoid arthritis, to the List (pursuant to PHS Act, sec. 3312(a)(6)(B)(ii) and 42 CFR 88.16(a)(2)(ii)) or publishing a determination not to publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register (pursuant to PHS Act, sec. 3312(a)(6)(B)(iii) and 42 CFR 88.16(a)(2)(iii)). The Administrator has also determined that requesting a recommendation from the STAC (pursuant to PHS Act, sec. 3312(a)(6)(B)(i) and 42 CFR 88.16(a)(2)(i)) is unwarranted. For the reasons discussed above, the Petition 014 request to add autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions is denied. E. Approval To Submit Document to the Office of the Federal Register The Secretary, HHS, or her/his designee, the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), authorized the undersigned, the Administrator of the WTC Health Program, to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication as an official document of the WTC Health Program. Anne Schuchat, M.D., Acting Director, CDC, and Acting Administrator, ATSDR, approved this document for publication on February 9, 2017. John Howard, Administrator, World Trade Center Health Program and Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. [FR Doc. 2017–03336 Filed 2–17–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163–18–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 161103999–7146–01] RIN 0648–BG43 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Framework Amendment 4 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\21FEP1.SGM 21FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Framework Amendment 4 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (FMP) as prepared and submitted jointly by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Councils). For the recreational sector, this proposed rule would establish bag and vessel limits, and revise the minimum size limit and accountability measures (AMs) for Atlantic migratory group cobia (Atlantic cobia). This proposed rule would also establish a commercial trip limit for Atlantic cobia. Framework Amendment 4 and this proposed rule apply to the commercial and recreational harvest of Atlantic cobia in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from Georgia through New York. The purpose of Framework Amendment 4 and this proposed rule is to slow the rate of harvest of Atlantic cobia and reduce the likelihood that landings will exceed the commercial and recreational annual catch limits (ACL), thereby triggering the AMs and reducing harvest opportunities. SUMMARY: Written comments must be received on or before March 23, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2016–0167,’’ by either of the following methods: • Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20160167, 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). rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:44 Feb 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 Electronic copies of Framework Amendment 4 may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_ fisheries/gulf_sa/cmp/2016/framework_ am4/index.html. Framework Amendment 4 includes an environmental assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis, and a regulatory impact review. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karla Gore, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, telephone: 727–551–5753, or email: karla.gore@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The coastal migratory pelagic fishery of the Gulf and Atlantic Regions is managed under the FMP and includes the management of the Gulf and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia. The FMP was prepared jointly by the Councils and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Background The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NMFS and regional fishery management councils to prevent overfishing and achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from federally managed fish stocks. All weights described in this proposed rule are in round weight. The current recreational AM for Atlantic cobia provides that if landings exceed the stock ACL (commercial and recreational ACLs combined), then during the following fishing year, the length of the recreational season will be reduced by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings may achieve the recreational annual catch target (ACT) of 500,000 lb (226,796 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years), but do not exceed the recreational ACL. The current commercial AM for Atlantic cobia provides that if commercial landings reach or are estimated to reach the commercial quota (ACL), then the commercial sector will be closed for the remainder of the fishing year. The commercial quota for Atlantic cobia is 50,000 lb (22,680 kg). Additionally, cobia is currently defined as a limited harvest species and no person may possess more than two cobia per day in or from the Gulf, MidAtlantic, or South Atlantic EEZ, regardless of whether harvested by the commercial or recreational sector. In 2015, recreational landings for Atlantic cobia exceeded the 2015 recreational ACL of 630,000 lb (285,763 kg) and the 2015 stock ACL of 690,000 lb (312,979 kg). Therefore, as a result of PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 11167 the stock ACL being exceeded in 2015, the 2016 recreational season for Atlantic cobia in Federal waters closed on June 20, 2016 (81 FR 12601, March 10, 2016). Because the recreational closure occurred during months of high recreational effort for cobia, the early closure had negative social and economic impacts on recreational anglers, charter vessel and headboat (for-hire) businesses, for-hire clients, and associated businesses such as tackle shops. The following actions in Framework Amendment 4 and this proposed rule are intended to slow the rate of harvest of Atlantic cobia and reduce the likelihood that sector landings will exceed the sector and stock ACLs, thereby triggering the AMs and reducing harvest opportunities. The goal is to provide equitable access for all recreational participants in the participants in the Atlantic cobia component of the coastal migratory pelagics fishery. Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule For the recreational sector, this proposed rule would establish bag and vessel limits and revise the minimum size limit and AMs for Atlantic cobia. This proposed rule would also establish a commercial trip limit for Atlantic cobia. As a result of the proposed recreational bag and possession limits and the commercial trip limit, Atlantic migratory cobia would no longer be subject to the two fish per person per day possession limit for limited harvest species. Recreational Minimum Size Limit The current minimum size limit for the recreational harvest of Atlantic cobia in the EEZ is 33 inches (83.8 cm), fork length. This proposed rule would increase the recreational minimum size limit for the Atlantic cobia recreational sector to 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length. This modification would result in a recreational harvest reduction in the Atlantic, that in combination with the proposed recreational bag and vessel limits, would be expected slow the rate of recreational harvest and thereby reduce the likelihood of exceeding the recreational and stock ACLs and thereby triggering the AM. Recreational Bag and Vessel Limits This proposed rule would remove Atlantic cobia from the limited harvest species possession limit and would establish a recreational bag limit of one fish per person per day or six fish per vessel, whichever is more restrictive. E:\FR\FM\21FEP1.SGM 21FEP1 11168 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS As explained above, the proposed increase in the recreational minimum size limit, and the proposed recreational bag limit and vessel limit are expected to slow the harvest rate and reduce the likelihood that recreational landings will exceed the ACL and trigger the recreational AMs for the following fishing year. Recreational AMs This proposed rule would revise the recreational AMs for Atlantic cobia. Currently, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings of cobia exceed the stock ACL, then during the following fishing year, the length of the recreational fishing season will be reduced to ensure that the harvest achieves the recreational ACT, but does not exceed the recreational ACL. Also, the current recreational AM uses a moving average of the most recent 3 years of landings to compare to the ACL. Additionally, if Atlantic cobia are overfished, and the stock ACL is exceeded, then during the following fishing year the recreational ACL and ACT would be reduced by the amount of any recreational ACL overage. Framework Amendment 4 would remove the current 3-year average of landings to compare to the ACL. NMFS expects that using a single year of landings to determine if an overage occurred will better represent the patterns and behavior of the Atlantic cobia fishery. Cobia landings can be variable; including very high or very low recreational landings into a 3-year average can result in an artificial reduction or lengthening of the recreational fishing season, respectively. The proposed recreational AM would require that if the recreational ACL and the stock ACL are exceeded, then during the following fishing year, recreational landings will be monitored for a persistence in increased landings, and, if necessary, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA) will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to reduce the recreational vessel limit, to no less than 2 fish per vessel to ensure recreational landings achieve the recreational ACT, but do not exceed the recreational ACL in that fishing year. Any reduction to the proposed recreational vessel limit would only apply for the fishing year in which it is implemented. Additionally, if the reduction to the vessel limit is insufficient to ensure that recreational landings will not exceed the recreational ACL, then the length of the recreational fishing season would also be reduced to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACL in that fishing year. The VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:44 Feb 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 recreational vessel limit and the length of the recreational fishing season would not be reduced if NMFS determines, based on the best scientific information available, that a recreational vessel limit and fishing season reduction are unnecessary. Commercial Trip Limit There is currently no specific commercial trip limit for Atlantic cobia. However, as previously discussed, Atlantic cobia is currently a limited harvest species and there is a possession limit of two cobia per person per day for both sectors. This proposed rule would remove Atlantic cobia from the limited harvest species possession limit and establish a commercial trip limit for Atlantic cobia of two fish per person per day or six fish per vessel per day, whichever is more restrictive. Establishing a commercial trip limit will reduce the rate of harvest of cobia to help ensure the commercial and stock ACLs are not exceeded and the AMs triggered, resulting in a reduced season length or reduced vessel limit for the recreational sector and a commercial closure as a result of exceeding the commercial quota. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Framework Amendment 4, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) that this rule, if adopted, would not have significant economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination is as follows: A description of this proposed rule, why it is being considered, the objectives of, and legal basis for this proposed rule are contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble of this proposed rule. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for this proposed rule. NMFS expects this proposed rule to directly affect federally permitted commercial fishermen fishing for Atlantic cobia. Recreational anglers fishing for Atlantic cobia would also be directly affected by the proposed action, PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 but they are not considered business entities under the RFA. Charter vessel and headboat operations are business entities but they are only indirectly affected by the proposed rule. For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. From 2010 through 2015, excluding the Mid-Atlantic states, an annual average of 98 vessels took 318 commercial trips that combined landed an average of 13,469 lb (6,109 kg) gutted weight of Atlantic cobia annually with a dockside value (2014 dollars) of $31,115. Average annual dockside revenue from Atlantic cobia represented approximately 3.6 percent of total dockside revenues from trips that landed Atlantic cobia from 2010 through 2015. For the Mid-Atlantic states during the same time period, an annual average of 24 vessels took 178 commercial trips that combined landed an average of 14,732 lb (6,682 kg) landed weight of Atlantic cobia annually with a dockside value (2014 dollars) of $39,227. For these vessels, per vessel revenue (2014 dollars) from Atlantic cobia was approximately $1,644. On average, vessels in the South Atlantic that harvested Atlantic cobia also took 2,338 commercial fishing trips per year without Atlantic cobia landings. Combining all sources of revenues, the average annual dockside revenues of vessels that landed Atlantic cobia was $74,066 (2014 dollars) per vessel. Annual dockside revenues from Atlantic cobia landings represented, on average, approximately 0.4 percent of the total dockside revenues from all commercial landings from 2010 through 2015 of vessels that landed Atlantic cobia. On average, the crew size per trip, including captains, of vessels in the South Atlantic that landed Atlantic cobia was 1.8 persons for hook and line vessels, 2.0 persons for gillnet vessels, and 2.4 persons for vessels using other gear types. The overall average crew size per trip for all vessels landing Atlantic cobia was less than 2 persons. Similar information on overall revenues from all sources and crew size for vessels in the Mid-Atlantic is not available. However, it is expected that the crew size for vessels in the Mid-Atlantic would be E:\FR\FM\21FEP1.SGM 21FEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules similar to that for vessels in the Southeast because they employ similar gear types in fishing for Atlantic cobia. Vessels that caught and landed Atlantic cobia may also operate in other fisheries, such as the shellfish fisheries, the revenues of which are not known and are not reflected in these totals. Based on revenue information, all commercial vessels directly affected by the proposed rule may be assumed to be small entities. Because all entities expected to be directly affected by this proposed rule are assumed to be small entities, NMFS has determined that this proposed rule would affect a substantial number of small entities; however, the issue of disproportionate effects on small versus large entities does not arise in the present case. The proposed rule would establish a commercial cobia trip limit of two fish per person per day and would also implement a limit of six fish per vessel per day, whichever is more restrictive. This action would affect only those vessels with a crew of more than three persons. Noting that the 2010 through 2015 average crew size for vessels landing Atlantic cobia was less than two persons per trip, it is likely that this action would have only minor effects on vessel revenues. It is, therefore, expected that this proposed rule would not have significant economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. In addition, no new reporting, record-keeping, or other compliance requirements are introduced by this proposed rule. Accordingly, this rule does not implicate the Paperwork Reduction Act. The information provided above supports a determination that this proposed rule would not have significant economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities. Because this proposed rule, if implemented, is not expected to have significant economic impacts on any small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Annual catch limits, Cobia, Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:44 Feb 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 Dated: February 14, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.380, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows: ■ § 622.380 Size limits. * * * * * (a) Cobia. (1) In the Gulf—33 inches (83.8), fork length. (2) In the Mid-Atlantic or South Atlantic. (i) 33 inches (83.8), fork length, for cobia that are sold (commercial sector). (ii) 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length, for cobia that are not sold (recreational sector). * * * * * ■ 3. In § 622.382, revise paragraph (a) introductory text and add paragraph (a)(1)(vi) to read as follows: § 622.382 Bag and possession limits. * * * * * (a) King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and Atlantic migratory group cobia— (1) * * * (vi) Atlantic migratory group cobia that are not sold (recreational sector)— 1, not to exceed 6 fish per vessel per day. * * * * * ■ 4. In § 622.383, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows: § 622.383 Limited harvest species. * * * * * (b) Gulf migratory group cobia. No person may possess more than two Gulf migratory group cobia per day in or from the EEZ, regardless of the number of trips or duration of a trip. ■ 5. In § 622.385, add paragraph (c) to read as follows: § 622.385 Commercial trip limits. * * * * * (c) Cobia. (1) Atlantic migratory group. Until the commercial ACL specified in § 622.384(d)(2) is reached, 2 fish per person, not to exceed 6 fish per vessel. (2) [Reserved] ■ 6. In § 622.388, revise paragraph (f) to read as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 11169 § 622.388 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs). * * * * * (f) Atlantic migratory group cobia. (1) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are sold (commercial sector): (i) If the sum of the cobia landings that are sold, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the quota specified in § 622.384(d)(2) (ACL), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to prohibit the sale and purchase of cobia for the remainder of the fishing year; (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section, if the sum of the cobia landings that are sold and not sold in or from the Atlantic migratory group, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this section, and Atlantic migratory group cobia are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the applicable quota (ACL), as specified in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section, for that following year by the amount of any applicable sector-specific ACL overage in the prior fishing year. (2) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are not sold (recreational sector). If recreational landings for cobia, as estimated by the SRD, exceed both the recreational ACL of 620,000 lb (281,227 kg), and the stock ACL, as specified paragraph (f)(3) of this section, then during the following fishing year, recreational landings will be monitored for a persistence in increased landings, and, if necessary, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to reduce the recreational vessel limit, specified in § 622.382(a)(1)(vi), to no less than 2 fish per vessel to ensure recreational landings achieve the recreational ACT, but do not exceed the recreational ACL in that fishing year. Any recreational vessel limit reduction that is implemented as described in this paragraph is only applicable for the fishing year in which it is implemented. Additionally, if the reduction in the recreational vessel limit is determined by the AA to be insufficient to ensure that recreational landings will not exceed the recreational ACL, the AA will also reduce the length of the recreational fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACL in that fishing year. The recreational vessel limit and the length of the recreational fishing season will E:\FR\FM\21FEP1.SGM 21FEP1 11170 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 21, 2017 / Proposed Rules not be reduced if NMFS determines, based on the best scientific information available, that a recreational vessel limit and fishing season reduction are unnecessary. The recreational ACT is 500,000 lb (226,796 kg). (3) The stock ACL for Atlantic migratory group cobia is 670,000 lb (303,907 kg). [FR Doc. 2017–03290 Filed 2–17–17; 8:45 am] rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:44 Feb 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\21FEP1.SGM 21FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 33 (Tuesday, February 21, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 11166-11170]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-03290]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 161103999-7146-01]
RIN 0648-BG43


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic 
Region; Framework Amendment 4

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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[[Page 11167]]

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in 
Framework Amendment 4 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal 
Migratory Pelagics Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region 
(FMP) as prepared and submitted jointly by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery 
Management Council and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council 
(Councils). For the recreational sector, this proposed rule would 
establish bag and vessel limits, and revise the minimum size limit and 
accountability measures (AMs) for Atlantic migratory group cobia 
(Atlantic cobia). This proposed rule would also establish a commercial 
trip limit for Atlantic cobia. Framework Amendment 4 and this proposed 
rule apply to the commercial and recreational harvest of Atlantic cobia 
in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from Georgia through New York. The 
purpose of Framework Amendment 4 and this proposed rule is to slow the 
rate of harvest of Atlantic cobia and reduce the likelihood that 
landings will exceed the commercial and recreational annual catch 
limits (ACL), thereby triggering the AMs and reducing harvest 
opportunities.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before March 23, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2016-0167,'' by either of the following methods:
     Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-
NMFS-2016-0167, 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 Framework Amendment 4 may be obtained from the 
Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_sa/cmp/2016/framework_am4/index.html. 
Framework Amendment 4 includes an environmental assessment, a 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis, and a regulatory impact 
review.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The coastal migratory pelagic fishery of the 
Gulf and Atlantic Regions is managed under the FMP and includes the 
management of the Gulf and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel, 
Spanish mackerel, and cobia. The FMP was prepared jointly by the 
Councils and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 
under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

Background

    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NMFS and regional fishery 
management councils to prevent overfishing and achieve, on a continuing 
basis, optimum yield from federally managed fish stocks. All weights 
described in this proposed rule are in round weight.
    The current recreational AM for Atlantic cobia provides that if 
landings exceed the stock ACL (commercial and recreational ACLs 
combined), then during the following fishing year, the length of the 
recreational season will be reduced by the amount necessary to ensure 
recreational landings may achieve the recreational annual catch target 
(ACT) of 500,000 lb (226,796 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing 
years), but do not exceed the recreational ACL.
    The current commercial AM for Atlantic cobia provides that if 
commercial landings reach or are estimated to reach the commercial 
quota (ACL), then the commercial sector will be closed for the 
remainder of the fishing year. The commercial quota for Atlantic cobia 
is 50,000 lb (22,680 kg).
    Additionally, cobia is currently defined as a limited harvest 
species and no person may possess more than two cobia per day in or 
from the Gulf, Mid-Atlantic, or South Atlantic EEZ, regardless of 
whether harvested by the commercial or recreational sector.
    In 2015, recreational landings for Atlantic cobia exceeded the 2015 
recreational ACL of 630,000 lb (285,763 kg) and the 2015 stock ACL of 
690,000 lb (312,979 kg). Therefore, as a result of the stock ACL being 
exceeded in 2015, the 2016 recreational season for Atlantic cobia in 
Federal waters closed on June 20, 2016 (81 FR 12601, March 10, 2016). 
Because the recreational closure occurred during months of high 
recreational effort for cobia, the early closure had negative social 
and economic impacts on recreational anglers, charter vessel and 
headboat (for-hire) businesses, for-hire clients, and associated 
businesses such as tackle shops.
    The following actions in Framework Amendment 4 and this proposed 
rule are intended to slow the rate of harvest of Atlantic cobia and 
reduce the likelihood that sector landings will exceed the sector and 
stock ACLs, thereby triggering the AMs and reducing harvest 
opportunities. The goal is to provide equitable access for all 
recreational participants in the participants in the Atlantic cobia 
component of the coastal migratory pelagics fishery.

Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule

    For the recreational sector, this proposed rule would establish bag 
and vessel limits and revise the minimum size limit and AMs for 
Atlantic cobia. This proposed rule would also establish a commercial 
trip limit for Atlantic cobia. As a result of the proposed recreational 
bag and possession limits and the commercial trip limit, Atlantic 
migratory cobia would no longer be subject to the two fish per person 
per day possession limit for limited harvest species.

Recreational Minimum Size Limit

    The current minimum size limit for the recreational harvest of 
Atlantic cobia in the EEZ is 33 inches (83.8 cm), fork length. This 
proposed rule would increase the recreational minimum size limit for 
the Atlantic cobia recreational sector to 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork 
length. This modification would result in a recreational harvest 
reduction in the Atlantic, that in combination with the proposed 
recreational bag and vessel limits, would be expected slow the rate of 
recreational harvest and thereby reduce the likelihood of exceeding the 
recreational and stock ACLs and thereby triggering the AM.

Recreational Bag and Vessel Limits

    This proposed rule would remove Atlantic cobia from the limited 
harvest species possession limit and would establish a recreational bag 
limit of one fish per person per day or six fish per vessel, whichever 
is more restrictive.

[[Page 11168]]

    As explained above, the proposed increase in the recreational 
minimum size limit, and the proposed recreational bag limit and vessel 
limit are expected to slow the harvest rate and reduce the likelihood 
that recreational landings will exceed the ACL and trigger the 
recreational AMs for the following fishing year.

Recreational AMs

    This proposed rule would revise the recreational AMs for Atlantic 
cobia. Currently, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings of 
cobia exceed the stock ACL, then during the following fishing year, the 
length of the recreational fishing season will be reduced to ensure 
that the harvest achieves the recreational ACT, but does not exceed the 
recreational ACL. Also, the current recreational AM uses a moving 
average of the most recent 3 years of landings to compare to the ACL. 
Additionally, if Atlantic cobia are overfished, and the stock ACL is 
exceeded, then during the following fishing year the recreational ACL 
and ACT would be reduced by the amount of any recreational ACL overage.
    Framework Amendment 4 would remove the current 3-year average of 
landings to compare to the ACL. NMFS expects that using a single year 
of landings to determine if an overage occurred will better represent 
the patterns and behavior of the Atlantic cobia fishery. Cobia landings 
can be variable; including very high or very low recreational landings 
into a 3-year average can result in an artificial reduction or 
lengthening of the recreational fishing season, respectively.
    The proposed recreational AM would require that if the recreational 
ACL and the stock ACL are exceeded, then during the following fishing 
year, recreational landings will be monitored for a persistence in 
increased landings, and, if necessary, the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA (AA) will file a notification with the Office of the 
Federal Register to reduce the recreational vessel limit, to no less 
than 2 fish per vessel to ensure recreational landings achieve the 
recreational ACT, but do not exceed the recreational ACL in that 
fishing year. Any reduction to the proposed recreational vessel limit 
would only apply for the fishing year in which it is implemented. 
Additionally, if the reduction to the vessel limit is insufficient to 
ensure that recreational landings will not exceed the recreational ACL, 
then the length of the recreational fishing season would also be 
reduced to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the recreational 
ACL in that fishing year. The recreational vessel limit and the length 
of the recreational fishing season would not be reduced if NMFS 
determines, based on the best scientific information available, that a 
recreational vessel limit and fishing season reduction are unnecessary.

Commercial Trip Limit

    There is currently no specific commercial trip limit for Atlantic 
cobia. However, as previously discussed, Atlantic cobia is currently a 
limited harvest species and there is a possession limit of two cobia 
per person per day for both sectors. This proposed rule would remove 
Atlantic cobia from the limited harvest species possession limit and 
establish a commercial trip limit for Atlantic cobia of two fish per 
person per day or six fish per vessel per day, whichever is more 
restrictive.
    Establishing a commercial trip limit will reduce the rate of 
harvest of cobia to help ensure the commercial and stock ACLs are not 
exceeded and the AMs triggered, resulting in a reduced season length or 
reduced vessel limit for the recreational sector and a commercial 
closure as a result of exceeding the commercial quota.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined that 
this proposed rule is consistent with Framework Amendment 4, the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) that this rule, if adopted, would not have 
significant economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities. 
The factual basis for this determination is as follows:
    A description of this proposed rule, why it is being considered, 
the objectives of, and legal basis for this proposed rule are contained 
at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY 
section of the preamble of this proposed rule. The Magnuson-Stevens Act 
provides the statutory basis for this proposed rule.
    NMFS expects this proposed rule to directly affect federally 
permitted commercial fishermen fishing for Atlantic cobia. Recreational 
anglers fishing for Atlantic cobia would also be directly affected by 
the proposed action, but they are not considered business entities 
under the RFA. Charter vessel and headboat operations are business 
entities but they are only indirectly affected by the proposed rule. 
For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size 
standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary 
industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily 
engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a 
small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not 
dominant in its field of operation (including affiliates), and has 
combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its 
affiliated operations worldwide.
    From 2010 through 2015, excluding the Mid-Atlantic states, an 
annual average of 98 vessels took 318 commercial trips that combined 
landed an average of 13,469 lb (6,109 kg) gutted weight of Atlantic 
cobia annually with a dockside value (2014 dollars) of $31,115. Average 
annual dockside revenue from Atlantic cobia represented approximately 
3.6 percent of total dockside revenues from trips that landed Atlantic 
cobia from 2010 through 2015. For the Mid-Atlantic states during the 
same time period, an annual average of 24 vessels took 178 commercial 
trips that combined landed an average of 14,732 lb (6,682 kg) landed 
weight of Atlantic cobia annually with a dockside value (2014 dollars) 
of $39,227. For these vessels, per vessel revenue (2014 dollars) from 
Atlantic cobia was approximately $1,644. On average, vessels in the 
South Atlantic that harvested Atlantic cobia also took 2,338 commercial 
fishing trips per year without Atlantic cobia landings. Combining all 
sources of revenues, the average annual dockside revenues of vessels 
that landed Atlantic cobia was $74,066 (2014 dollars) per vessel. 
Annual dockside revenues from Atlantic cobia landings represented, on 
average, approximately 0.4 percent of the total dockside revenues from 
all commercial landings from 2010 through 2015 of vessels that landed 
Atlantic cobia. On average, the crew size per trip, including captains, 
of vessels in the South Atlantic that landed Atlantic cobia was 1.8 
persons for hook and line vessels, 2.0 persons for gillnet vessels, and 
2.4 persons for vessels using other gear types. The overall average 
crew size per trip for all vessels landing Atlantic cobia was less than 
2 persons. Similar information on overall revenues from all sources and 
crew size for vessels in the Mid-Atlantic is not available. However, it 
is expected that the crew size for vessels in the Mid-Atlantic would be

[[Page 11169]]

similar to that for vessels in the Southeast because they employ 
similar gear types in fishing for Atlantic cobia. Vessels that caught 
and landed Atlantic cobia may also operate in other fisheries, such as 
the shellfish fisheries, the revenues of which are not known and are 
not reflected in these totals. Based on revenue information, all 
commercial vessels directly affected by the proposed rule may be 
assumed to be small entities.
    Because all entities expected to be directly affected by this 
proposed rule are assumed to be small entities, NMFS has determined 
that this proposed rule would affect a substantial number of small 
entities; however, the issue of disproportionate effects on small 
versus large entities does not arise in the present case.
    The proposed rule would establish a commercial cobia trip limit of 
two fish per person per day and would also implement a limit of six 
fish per vessel per day, whichever is more restrictive. This action 
would affect only those vessels with a crew of more than three persons. 
Noting that the 2010 through 2015 average crew size for vessels landing 
Atlantic cobia was less than two persons per trip, it is likely that 
this action would have only minor effects on vessel revenues. It is, 
therefore, expected that this proposed rule would not have significant 
economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities.
    No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been 
identified. In addition, no new reporting, record-keeping, or other 
compliance requirements are introduced by this proposed rule. 
Accordingly, this rule does not implicate the Paperwork Reduction Act.
    The information provided above supports a determination that this 
proposed rule would not have significant economic impacts on a 
substantial number of small entities. Because this proposed rule, if 
implemented, is not expected to have significant economic impacts on 
any small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Annual catch limits, Cobia, Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf of Mexico, 
South Atlantic.

    Dated: February 14, 2017.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH 
ATLANTIC

0
1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows:


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

0
2. In Sec.  622.380, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.380   Size limits.

* * * * *
    (a) Cobia. (1) In the Gulf--33 inches (83.8), fork length.
    (2) In the Mid-Atlantic or South Atlantic. (i) 33 inches (83.8), 
fork length, for cobia that are sold (commercial sector).
    (ii) 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length, for cobia that are not sold 
(recreational sector).
* * * * *
0
3. In Sec.  622.382, revise paragraph (a) introductory text and add 
paragraph (a)(1)(vi) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.382   Bag and possession limits.

* * * * *
    (a) King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and Atlantic migratory group 
cobia--
    (1) * * *
    (vi) Atlantic migratory group cobia that are not sold (recreational 
sector)--1, not to exceed 6 fish per vessel per day.
* * * * *
0
4. In Sec.  622.383, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.383   Limited harvest species.

* * * * *
    (b) Gulf migratory group cobia. No person may possess more than two 
Gulf migratory group cobia per day in or from the EEZ, regardless of 
the number of trips or duration of a trip.
0
5. In Sec.  622.385, add paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.385   Commercial trip limits.

* * * * *
    (c) Cobia. (1) Atlantic migratory group. Until the commercial ACL 
specified in Sec.  622.384(d)(2) is reached, 2 fish per person, not to 
exceed 6 fish per vessel.
    (2) [Reserved]
0
6. In Sec.  622.388, revise paragraph (f) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.388  Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), 
and accountability measures (AMs).

* * * * *
    (f) Atlantic migratory group cobia. (1) The following ACLs and AMs 
apply to cobia that are sold (commercial sector):
    (i) If the sum of the cobia landings that are sold, as estimated by 
the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the quota specified in Sec.  
622.384(d)(2) (ACL), the AA will file a notification with the Office of 
the Federal Register to prohibit the sale and purchase of cobia for the 
remainder of the fishing year;
    (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (f)(1)(i) 
of this section, if the sum of the cobia landings that are sold and not 
sold in or from the Atlantic migratory group, as estimated by the SRD, 
exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this 
section, and Atlantic migratory group cobia are overfished, based on 
the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA 
will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or 
near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the 
applicable quota (ACL), as specified in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this 
section, for that following year by the amount of any applicable 
sector-specific ACL overage in the prior fishing year.
    (2) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are not sold 
(recreational sector). If recreational landings for cobia, as estimated 
by the SRD, exceed both the recreational ACL of 620,000 lb (281,227 
kg), and the stock ACL, as specified paragraph (f)(3) of this section, 
then during the following fishing year, recreational landings will be 
monitored for a persistence in increased landings, and, if necessary, 
the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register 
to reduce the recreational vessel limit, specified in Sec.  
622.382(a)(1)(vi), to no less than 2 fish per vessel to ensure 
recreational landings achieve the recreational ACT, but do not exceed 
the recreational ACL in that fishing year. Any recreational vessel 
limit reduction that is implemented as described in this paragraph is 
only applicable for the fishing year in which it is implemented. 
Additionally, if the reduction in the recreational vessel limit is 
determined by the AA to be insufficient to ensure that recreational 
landings will not exceed the recreational ACL, the AA will also reduce 
the length of the recreational fishing season by the amount necessary 
to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACL in 
that fishing year. The recreational vessel limit and the length of the 
recreational fishing season will

[[Page 11170]]

not be reduced if NMFS determines, based on the best scientific 
information available, that a recreational vessel limit and fishing 
season reduction are unnecessary. The recreational ACT is 500,000 lb 
(226,796 kg).
    (3) The stock ACL for Atlantic migratory group cobia is 670,000 lb 
(303,907 kg).

[FR Doc. 2017-03290 Filed 2-17-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P