Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits, 18117 [2017-07713]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 72 / Monday, April 17, 2017 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD949 Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: The NMFS Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. This Exempted Fishing Permit would allow commercial lobster vessels to participate in a lobster growth and abundance study, under the direction of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries in state and Federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts. Regulations under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on Exempted Fishing Permit applications. DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 2, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following methods: • Email: NMFS.GAR.EFP@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line ‘‘Comments on MA DMF Lobster Study EFP.’’ • Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on MA DMF Lobster Study EFP.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sustainable Fisheries Division, 978– 281–9315. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MA DMF) submitted a complete application for an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to conduct a twoyear lobster abundance survey with modified lobster gear that Federal regulations would otherwise restrict. The purpose of this lobster study is to provide fishery-independent data on mstockstill on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Apr 14, 2017 Jkt 241001 lobster abundance in Massachusetts state waters of statistical area 514, from Ipswich Bay south to Cape Cod Bay; and state and Federal waters of Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, and nearshore portions of Rhode Island Sound, in statistical areas 537 and 538. Currently, lobster abundance and distribution studies are primarily conducted through fishery-independent, random-stratified bottom-trawl surveys. MA DMF has stated that trawl surveys lack the capability to efficiently target areas with rocky bottom where lobsters also reside, and is seeking an EFP to use fixed lobster gear to sample such areas. The EFP would authorize commercial lobster vessels to set, haul, and retain on board lobster traps without escape vents during sampling activity. Following a soak time ranging from 3 to 5 days, these lobster traps would be hauled twice per month on dedicated sampling trips, with at least one scientist from MA DMF on board during sampling activity. During sampling trips, no catch will be retained for sale. MA DMF requests exemption from lobster gear regulations to allow for traps without escape vents in order to catch lobsters of all sizes. MA DMF is also requesting exemption from lobster trap limits. This would allow participating vessels to retain on-board survey lobster traps that may cause vessels to exceed their permitted allocation for Lobster Management Area (LMA) 1 (800 trap limit) or LMA 2 (historical qualification up to 800 trap limit). Federal lobster regulations require each active lobster trap to have a commercial trap tag permanently affixed. MA DMF is requesting exemption from this requirement because survey traps will be tagged with ‘‘MA DMF Research Trap.’’ MA DMF is also requesting exemption from the management area designation requirement to allow one Federal lobster permit holder to fish experimental traps in LMA 2 while having an LMA 3 designation on his Federal permit. This exemption would allow the vessel to set survey traps in an area not designated on his permit. This exemption would not allow him to commercially fish and/ or land lobsters caught with traps in LMA 2. Site selection would be based on a random stratified sampling design, consistent with standardized methodology used to perform lobster surveys. All catch during dedicated research trips would be retained onboard for a short period of time to allow MA DMF staff to record the following information: Number of lobsters caught; number of traps hauled; set-over days; trap and bait type; lobster carapace PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18117 length; sex; shell hardness; culls and other shell damage; external gross pathology including symptoms of shell disease; mortality; and ovigerous status. MA DMF is requesting exemption from management measures of LMA 1 and 2 for lobster size restrictions, v-notch possession, and egg-bearing lobster possession. MA DMF plans on retaining a small amount of lobsters for growth and maturity research purposes. If approved, MA DMF may request minor modifications and extensions to the EFP throughout the study. EFP modifications and extensions may be granted without further notice if they are deemed essential to facilitate completion of the proposed research and have minimal impacts that do not change the scope or impact of the initially approved EFP request. Any fishing activity conducted outside the scope of the exempted fishing activity would be prohibited. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 11, 2017. Karen H. Abrams, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–07713 Filed 4–14–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF365 North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public meeting. AGENCY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan Team (BS FEP) will meet in April, in Homer, AK. DATES: The meeting will be held on Monday, April 24, 2017, through Wednesday, April 26, 2017. The meeting will be held from 1 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. on Monday, from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday, and from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, 95 Sterling Hwy, Homer, AK 99603. Council address: North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 605 W. 4th Ave., Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501–2252; telephone (907) 271–2809. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\17APN1.SGM 17APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 72 (Monday, April 17, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Page 18117]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-07713]



[[Page 18117]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD949


Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; 
General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted 
Fishing Permits

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

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The NMFS Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable 
Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, has made a preliminary 
determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application contains all 
of the required information and warrants further consideration. This 
Exempted Fishing Permit would allow commercial lobster vessels to 
participate in a lobster growth and abundance study, under the 
direction of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries in state and 
Federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts.
    Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative 
Management Act require publication of this notification to provide 
interested parties the opportunity to comment on Exempted Fishing 
Permit applications.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 2, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following 
methods:
     Email: NMFS.GAR.EFP@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line 
``Comments on MA DMF Lobster Study EFP.''
     Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, 
Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, 
Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ``Comments on MA 
DMF Lobster Study EFP.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sustainable Fisheries Division, 978-
281-9315.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Massachusetts Division of Marine 
Fisheries (MA DMF) submitted a complete application for an Exempted 
Fishing Permit (EFP) to conduct a two-year lobster abundance survey 
with modified lobster gear that Federal regulations would otherwise 
restrict. The purpose of this lobster study is to provide fishery-
independent data on lobster abundance in Massachusetts state waters of 
statistical area 514, from Ipswich Bay south to Cape Cod Bay; and state 
and Federal waters of Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, and nearshore 
portions of Rhode Island Sound, in statistical areas 537 and 538. 
Currently, lobster abundance and distribution studies are primarily 
conducted through fishery-independent, random-stratified bottom-trawl 
surveys. MA DMF has stated that trawl surveys lack the capability to 
efficiently target areas with rocky bottom where lobsters also reside, 
and is seeking an EFP to use fixed lobster gear to sample such areas.
    The EFP would authorize commercial lobster vessels to set, haul, 
and retain on board lobster traps without escape vents during sampling 
activity. Following a soak time ranging from 3 to 5 days, these lobster 
traps would be hauled twice per month on dedicated sampling trips, with 
at least one scientist from MA DMF on board during sampling activity. 
During sampling trips, no catch will be retained for sale.
    MA DMF requests exemption from lobster gear regulations to allow 
for traps without escape vents in order to catch lobsters of all sizes. 
MA DMF is also requesting exemption from lobster trap limits. This 
would allow participating vessels to retain on-board survey lobster 
traps that may cause vessels to exceed their permitted allocation for 
Lobster Management Area (LMA) 1 (800 trap limit) or LMA 2 (historical 
qualification up to 800 trap limit). Federal lobster regulations 
require each active lobster trap to have a commercial trap tag 
permanently affixed. MA DMF is requesting exemption from this 
requirement because survey traps will be tagged with ``MA DMF Research 
Trap.''
    MA DMF is also requesting exemption from the management area 
designation requirement to allow one Federal lobster permit holder to 
fish experimental traps in LMA 2 while having an LMA 3 designation on 
his Federal permit. This exemption would allow the vessel to set survey 
traps in an area not designated on his permit. This exemption would not 
allow him to commercially fish and/or land lobsters caught with traps 
in LMA 2.
    Site selection would be based on a random stratified sampling 
design, consistent with standardized methodology used to perform 
lobster surveys. All catch during dedicated research trips would be 
retained on-board for a short period of time to allow MA DMF staff to 
record the following information: Number of lobsters caught; number of 
traps hauled; set-over days; trap and bait type; lobster carapace 
length; sex; shell hardness; culls and other shell damage; external 
gross pathology including symptoms of shell disease; mortality; and 
ovigerous status. MA DMF is requesting exemption from management 
measures of LMA 1 and 2 for lobster size restrictions, v-notch 
possession, and egg-bearing lobster possession. MA DMF plans on 
retaining a small amount of lobsters for growth and maturity research 
purposes.
    If approved, MA DMF may request minor modifications and extensions 
to the EFP throughout the study. EFP modifications and extensions may 
be granted without further notice if they are deemed essential to 
facilitate completion of the proposed research and have minimal impacts 
that do not change the scope or impact of the initially approved EFP 
request. Any fishing activity conducted outside the scope of the 
exempted fishing activity would be prohibited.

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

    Dated: April 11, 2017.
Karen H. Abrams,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-07713 Filed 4-14-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P