Pacific Island Fisheries; 2017-18 Annual Catch Limit and Accountability Measures; Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish, 24092-24094 [2017-10704]

Download as PDF 24092 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 100 / Thursday, May 25, 2017 / Proposed Rules (5) April 15 through April 30. Each person on a charter or party fishing boat permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, fishing from April 15 through April 30, may possess no more than 12 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1). (iii) For purposes of counting fish, fillets will be converted to whole fish at the place of landing by dividing the number of fillets by two. If fish are filleted into a single (butterfly) fillet, such fillet shall be deemed to be from one whole fish. (iv) Haddock harvested in or from the EEZ by private recreational fishing boats or charter or party boats with more than one person aboard may be pooled in one or more containers. Compliance with the possession limit will be determined by dividing the number of fish on board by the number of persons on board. If there is a violation of the possession limit on board a vessel carrying more than one person, the violation shall be deemed to have been committed by the owner or operator of the vessel. (v) Haddock must be stored so as to be readily available for inspection. * * * * * (e) Charter/party vessel restrictions on fishing in GOM closed areas and the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area—(1) GOM Closed Areas. (i) A vessel fishing under charter/party regulations may not fish in the GOM closed areas specified in § 648.81(d)(1), (e)(1), and (f)(4) during the time periods specified in those paragraphs, unless the vessel has on board a valid letter of authorization issued by the Regional Administrator pursuant to § 648.81(f)(5)(v) and paragraph (e)(3) of this section. If the vessel fishes or intends to fish in the GOM cod protection closures, the conditions and restrictions of the letter of authorization must be complied with for a minimum of 3 months. If the vessel fishes or intends to fish in the yearround GOM closure areas, the conditions and restrictions of the letter of authorization must be complied with for the rest of the fishing year, beginning with the start of the participation period of the letter of authorization. (ii) A vessel fishing under charter/ party regulations may not fish in the GOM Cod Spawning Protection Area specified at § 648.81(n)(1) during the time period specified in that paragraph, unless the vessel complies with the requirements specified at § 648.81(n)(2)(iii). (2) Nantucket Lightship Closed Area. A vessel fishing under charter/party VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:01 May 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 regulations may not fish in the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area specified in § 648.81(c)(1) unless the vessel has on board a letter of authorization issued by the Regional Administrator pursuant to § 648.81(c)(2)(iii) and paragraph (e)(3) of this section. (3) Letters of authorization. To obtain either of the letters of authorization specified in paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section, a vessel owner must request a letter from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, either in writing or by phone (see Table 1 to 50 CFR 600.502). As a condition of these letters of authorization, the vessel owner must agree to the following: (i) The letter of authorization must be carried on board the vessel during the period of participation; (ii) Fish species managed by the NEFMC or MAFMC that are harvested or possessed by the vessel, are not sold or intended for trade, barter or sale, regardless of where the fish are caught; (iii) The vessel has no gear other than rod and reel or handline gear on board; and (iv) For the GOM charter/party closed area exemption only, the vessel may not fish on a sector trip, under a NE multispecies DAS, or under the provisions of the NE multispecies Small Vessel Category or Handgear A or Handgear B permit categories, as specified at § 648.82, during the period of participation. (f) Recreational fishery AM—(1) Catch evaluation. As soon as recreational catch data are available for the entire previous fishing year, the Regional Administrator will evaluate whether recreational catches exceed any of the sub-ACLs specified for the recreational fishery pursuant to § 648.90(a)(4). When evaluating recreational catch, the components of recreational catch that are used shall be the same as those used in the most recent assessment for that particular stock. To determine if any sub-ACL specified for the recreational fishery was exceeded, the Regional Administrator shall compare the 3-year average of recreational catch to the 3year average of the recreational sub-ACL for each stock. (2) Reactive AM adjustment. If it is determined that any recreational subACL was exceeded, as specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the Regional Administrator, after consultation with the NEFMC, shall develop measures necessary to prevent the recreational fishery from exceeding the appropriate sub-ACL in future years. Appropriate AMs for the recreational fishery, including adjustments to fishing season, minimum fish size, or PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 possession limits, may be implemented in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, with final measures published in the Federal Register no later than January when possible. Separate AMs shall be developed for the private and charter/ party components of the recreational fishery. (3) Proactive AM adjustment. When necessary, the Regional Administrator, after consultation with the New England Fishery Management Council, may adjust recreational measures to ensure the recreational fishery achieves, but does not exceed any recreational fishery sub-ACL in a future fishing year. Appropriate AMs for the recreational fishery, including adjustments to fishing season, minimum fish size, or possession limits, may be implemented in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, with final measures published in the Federal Register prior to the start of the fishing year where possible. In specifying these AMs, the Regional Administrator shall take into account the non-binding prioritization of possible measures recommended by the Council: For cod, first increases to minimum fish sizes, then adjustments to seasons, followed by changes to bag limits; and for haddock, first increases to minimum size limits, then changes to bag limits, and then adjustments to seasons. [FR Doc. 2017–10703 Filed 5–24–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 [Docket No. 170330338–7470–01] RIN 0648–XF335 Pacific Island Fisheries; 2017–18 Annual Catch Limit and Accountability Measures; Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed specifications; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes to specify an annual catch limit (ACL) of 306,000 lb for Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) for the 2017–18 fishing year, which will begin on September 1, 2017, and end on August 31, 2018. If NMFS projects that the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25MYP1.SGM 25MYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 100 / Thursday, May 25, 2017 / Proposed Rules fishery will reach the ACL, NMFS would close the commercial and noncommercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year as an accountability measure (AM). The proposed ACL and AM support the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish. DATES: NMFS must receive comments by June 9, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed 2017–18 ACL, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2017–0033, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20170033, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd. Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818. Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. 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 the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). NMFS prepared an environmental analysis that describes the potential impacts on the human environment that could result from the proposed specification. The environmental analysis and other supporting documents are available at www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah Ellgen, NMFS PIR Sustainable Fisheries, 808–725–5173. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) manage the bottomfish fishery in Federal waters around Hawaii under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Hawaiian Archipelago (FEP), as authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The Deep 7 bottomfish are onaga (Etelis coruscans), ehu (E. carbunculus), gindai (Pristipomoides zonatus), kalekale (P. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:01 May 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 sieboldii), opakapaka (P. filamentosus), lehi (Aphareus rutilans), and hapuupuu (Hyporthodus quernus). The regulations at Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, part 665 (50 CFR 665.4) requires NMFS to specify an ACL for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish each fishing year, based on a recommendation from the Council. NMFS proposes to specify an ACL of 306,000 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish in the MHI for the 2017–18 fishing year. The Council recommended the proposed ACL, based on a 2011 bottomfish stock assessment updated in 2015 with three additional years of data, and taking into consideration the risk of overfishing, past fishery performance, the acceptable biological catch recommendation from its Scientific and Statistical Committee, and input from the public. This update to the 2011 NMFS bottomfish stock assessment estimated the overfishing limit for the MHI Deep 7 bottomfish stock complex to be 352,000 lb, which is 31,000 lb less than the estimated overfishing limit in the 2011 stock assessment. Based on this update, the Council recommended a three-year phased reduction of the ACL. NMFS prepared an environmental assessment, dated March 17, 2016 (available at www.regulations.gov), of the Council’s three-year phased reduction of the ACL (entitled ‘‘Specification of Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures for Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish Fisheries in Fishing Years 2015–16, 2016–17, and 2017–18’’). The proposed ACL of 306,000 lb for 2017– 18 is the third annual reduction in this phased approach, and is 12,000 lb less than the ACL that NMFS specified last year (82 FR 5429, January 18, 2017). The ACL is associated with a 39percent probability of overfishing, and is more conservative than the 50-percent risk threshold allowed under NMFS guidelines for National Standard 1 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. NMFS monitors Deep 7 bottomfish catches based on data provided by commercial fishermen to the State of Hawaii. If NMFS projects the fishery will reach this limit, NMFS would close the commercial and non-commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year, as an accountability measure (AM). As an additional AM, in the event that NMFS and the Council determine that the final 2017–18 Deep 7 bottomfish catch exceeds the ACL, NMFS would reduce the Deep 7 bottomfish ACL for the 2018–19 fishing year by the amount of the overage. The fishery has not caught the specified limit in any year since 2011. NMFS does not expect the proposed ACL and AM specifications for 2017–18 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 24093 to result in a change in fishing operations, or other changes to the conduct of the fishery that would result in significant environmental impacts. After considering public comments on the proposed ACL and AMs, NMFS will publish the final specifications. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this proposed specification is consistent with the Hawaii FEP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment. This action is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Certification of Finding of No Significant Impact on Substantial Number of Small Entities The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that these proposed specifications, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for it are contained in the preamble to these proposed specifications. NMFS proposes to specify an ACL of 306,000 lb for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish, as recommended by the Council, for the 2017–18 fishing year, which will begin on September 1, 2017, and end on August 31, 2018. NMFS monitors MHI Deep 7 bottomfish catches based on data provided by commercial fishermen to the State of Hawaii. If NMFS projects that the fishery will reach this limit, NMFS would close the commercial and non-commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the fishing year as an AM. The proposed ACL is 12,000 lb less than the ACL that NMFS implemented for the 2016–17 fishing year, 20,000 lb less than the ACL that NMFS implemented for the 2015– 16 fishing year, and 40,000 lb less than the ACL that NMFS implemented in each of the four fishing years, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, and 2014–15. The AM would remain the same. Over the past five fishing seasons, the highest reported annual landings, 309,485 lb, occurred during the 2013–14 fishing year. NMFS does not expect that the fishery would reach the limit during the 2017–18 fishing year. Additionally, the proposed AM would allow NMFS to close the fishery to prevent the fishery from exceeding the proposed ACL. NMFS is preparing a new stock E:\FR\FM\25MYP1.SGM 25MYP1 24094 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 100 / Thursday, May 25, 2017 / Proposed Rules assessment that would account for fishery performance in previous years, which NMFS and the Council would consider in recommending an ACL for fishing year 2018–2019. This rule would affect commercial and non-commercial fishermen who catch MHI Deep 7 bottomfish. Specifically, during the 2015–16 fishing year, 368 fishermen reported landing 259,530 lb of MHI Deep 7 bottomfish. With regard to the 2016–17 fishing year, which is currently underway, as of March 28, 2017, 302 fishermen have caught 180,951 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish, which represents 57% of the 2016–17 ACL for Deep 7 bottomfish. For Regulatory Flexibility Act 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 its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million or all its affiliated operations worldwide. Based on available information, NMFS has determined that all affected entities—vessels in the commercial and non-commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish—are small entities under the NMFS standard, as they are engaged in the business of fish harvesting, independently owned or operated, not dominant in their field of operation, and have annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million. Therefore, there would be no disproportionate economic VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:01 May 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 impacts between large and small entities. Furthermore, there would be no disproportionate economic impacts among the universe of vessels based on gear, home port, or vessel length. As for revenues earned by fishermen from MHI Deep 7 bottomfish, State of Hawaii records report that 328 of the 368 fishermen sold their MHI Deep 7 bottomfish catch during the 2015–16 fishing year. These 328 individuals sold a combined total of 240,183 lb (92.5 percent of reported catch) at a value of $1,716,313. Based on these revenues, the average price for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish in 2015–16 was approximately $7.15/lb. NMFS assumed that either the remaining 40 commercial fishermen sold no Deep 7 bottomfish, or the State of Hawaii reporting program did not capture their sales. With regard to the 2016–17 fishing year currently underway, as of March 28, 2016, revenues from sales of Deep 7 bottomfish totaled $1,138,531 from 147,274 lb sold, yielding an average price of $7.73 per lb. Assuming the fishery attains the ACL of 306,000 in 2017–18, and using the 2015–16 average price of $7.15/lb, NMFS expects the potential fleet wide revenue during 2017–18 to be $2,187,900 (or approximately $2,023,808 under the assumption that 92.5 percent of catch is sold). If Deep 7 bottomfish catch reached the ACL during the 2017–18 fishing year and all catch were to be sold by the same number of fishermen with sales during 2015–16, each of these 328 commercial fishermen could potentially earn on average $6,671 from the sale of 933 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish. If the fishery PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 reaches the ACL, with 92.5 percent of all Deep 7 bottomfish catch to be sold, then these 328 commercial fishermen would sell an average of 863 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish valued at about $6,171, which is well below the $11 million threshold. In general, the relative importance of MHI bottomfish to commercial participants as a percentage of overall fishing or household income is unknown, as the total suite of fishing and other income-generating activities by individual operations across the year has not been examined. Even though this proposed specification would apply to a substantial number of vessels, i.e., 100 percent of the bottomfish fleet, as NMFS does not expect this rule to have a significantly adverse economic impact on individual vessels. Landings information from the past five fishing years suggest that Deep 7 bottomfish landings are not likely to exceed the ACL proposed for 2017–18. Therefore, pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, this proposed action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required, and none has been prepared. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: May 19, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–10704 Filed 5–24–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\25MYP1.SGM 25MYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 100 (Thursday, May 25, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 24092-24094]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-10704]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 665

[Docket No. 170330338-7470-01]
RIN 0648-XF335


Pacific Island Fisheries; 2017-18 Annual Catch Limit and 
Accountability Measures; Main Hawaiian Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish

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

ACTION: Proposed specifications; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to specify an annual catch limit (ACL) of 
306,000 lb for Deep 7 bottomfish in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) for 
the 2017-18 fishing year, which will begin on September 1, 2017, and 
end on August 31, 2018. If NMFS projects that the

[[Page 24093]]

fishery will reach the ACL, NMFS would close the commercial and non-
commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the 
fishing year as an accountability measure (AM). The proposed ACL and AM 
support the long-term sustainability of Hawaii bottomfish.

DATES: NMFS must receive comments by June 9, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed 2017-18 ACL, 
identified by NOAA-NMFS-2017-0033, by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0033, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, 
Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp 
Blvd. Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.
    Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other 
method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end 
of the comment period. 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 the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    NMFS prepared an environmental analysis that describes the 
potential impacts on the human environment that could result from the 
proposed specification. The environmental analysis and other supporting 
documents are available at www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah Ellgen, NMFS PIR Sustainable 
Fisheries, 808-725-5173.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS and the Western Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council) manage the bottomfish fishery in Federal 
waters around Hawaii under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Hawaiian 
Archipelago (FEP), as authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The Deep 7 
bottomfish are onaga (Etelis coruscans), ehu (E. carbunculus), gindai 
(Pristipomoides zonatus), kalekale (P. sieboldii), opakapaka (P. 
filamentosus), lehi (Aphareus rutilans), and hapuupuu (Hyporthodus 
quernus). The regulations at Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, 
part 665 (50 CFR 665.4) requires NMFS to specify an ACL for MHI Deep 7 
bottomfish each fishing year, based on a recommendation from the 
Council.
    NMFS proposes to specify an ACL of 306,000 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish 
in the MHI for the 2017-18 fishing year. The Council recommended the 
proposed ACL, based on a 2011 bottomfish stock assessment updated in 
2015 with three additional years of data, and taking into consideration 
the risk of overfishing, past fishery performance, the acceptable 
biological catch recommendation from its Scientific and Statistical 
Committee, and input from the public. This update to the 2011 NMFS 
bottomfish stock assessment estimated the overfishing limit for the MHI 
Deep 7 bottomfish stock complex to be 352,000 lb, which is 31,000 lb 
less than the estimated overfishing limit in the 2011 stock assessment. 
Based on this update, the Council recommended a three-year phased 
reduction of the ACL. NMFS prepared an environmental assessment, dated 
March 17, 2016 (available at www.regulations.gov), of the Council's 
three-year phased reduction of the ACL (entitled ``Specification of 
Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures for Main Hawaiian 
Islands Deep 7 Bottomfish Fisheries in Fishing Years 2015-16, 2016-17, 
and 2017-18''). The proposed ACL of 306,000 lb for 2017-18 is the third 
annual reduction in this phased approach, and is 12,000 lb less than 
the ACL that NMFS specified last year (82 FR 5429, January 18, 2017).
    The ACL is associated with a 39-percent probability of overfishing, 
and is more conservative than the 50-percent risk threshold allowed 
under NMFS guidelines for National Standard 1 of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act. NMFS monitors Deep 7 bottomfish catches based on data provided by 
commercial fishermen to the State of Hawaii. If NMFS projects the 
fishery will reach this limit, NMFS would close the commercial and non-
commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for the remainder of the 
fishing year, as an accountability measure (AM). As an additional AM, 
in the event that NMFS and the Council determine that the final 2017-18 
Deep 7 bottomfish catch exceeds the ACL, NMFS would reduce the Deep 7 
bottomfish ACL for the 2018-19 fishing year by the amount of the 
overage.
    The fishery has not caught the specified limit in any year since 
2011. NMFS does not expect the proposed ACL and AM specifications for 
2017-18 to result in a change in fishing operations, or other changes 
to the conduct of the fishery that would result in significant 
environmental impacts. After considering public comments on the 
proposed ACL and AMs, NMFS will publish the final specifications.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this 
proposed specification is consistent with the Hawaii FEP, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, 
subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This action is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Certification of Finding of No Significant Impact on Substantial Number 
of Small Entities

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that these proposed specifications, if adopted, would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and 
the legal basis for it are contained in the preamble to these proposed 
specifications.
    NMFS proposes to specify an ACL of 306,000 lb for MHI Deep 7 
bottomfish, as recommended by the Council, for the 2017-18 fishing 
year, which will begin on September 1, 2017, and end on August 31, 
2018. NMFS monitors MHI Deep 7 bottomfish catches based on data 
provided by commercial fishermen to the State of Hawaii. If NMFS 
projects that the fishery will reach this limit, NMFS would close the 
commercial and non-commercial fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish for 
the remainder of the fishing year as an AM. The proposed ACL is 12,000 
lb less than the ACL that NMFS implemented for the 2016-17 fishing 
year, 20,000 lb less than the ACL that NMFS implemented for the 2015-16 
fishing year, and 40,000 lb less than the ACL that NMFS implemented in 
each of the four fishing years, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15. 
The AM would remain the same. Over the past five fishing seasons, the 
highest reported annual landings, 309,485 lb, occurred during the 2013-
14 fishing year. NMFS does not expect that the fishery would reach the 
limit during the 2017-18 fishing year. Additionally, the proposed AM 
would allow NMFS to close the fishery to prevent the fishery from 
exceeding the proposed ACL. NMFS is preparing a new stock

[[Page 24094]]

assessment that would account for fishery performance in previous 
years, which NMFS and the Council would consider in recommending an ACL 
for fishing year 2018-2019.
    This rule would affect commercial and non-commercial fishermen who 
catch MHI Deep 7 bottomfish. Specifically, during the 2015-16 fishing 
year, 368 fishermen reported landing 259,530 lb of MHI Deep 7 
bottomfish. With regard to the 2016-17 fishing year, which is currently 
underway, as of March 28, 2017, 302 fishermen have caught 180,951 lb of 
Deep 7 bottomfish, which represents 57% of the 2016-17 ACL for Deep 7 
bottomfish. For Regulatory Flexibility Act 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 its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in 
excess of $11 million or all its affiliated operations worldwide.
    Based on available information, NMFS has determined that all 
affected entities--vessels in the commercial and non-commercial 
fisheries for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish--are small entities under the NMFS 
standard, as they are engaged in the business of fish harvesting, 
independently owned or operated, not dominant in their field of 
operation, and have annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million. 
Therefore, there would be no disproportionate economic impacts between 
large and small entities. Furthermore, there would be no 
disproportionate economic impacts among the universe of vessels based 
on gear, home port, or vessel length.
    As for revenues earned by fishermen from MHI Deep 7 bottomfish, 
State of Hawaii records report that 328 of the 368 fishermen sold their 
MHI Deep 7 bottomfish catch during the 2015-16 fishing year. These 328 
individuals sold a combined total of 240,183 lb (92.5 percent of 
reported catch) at a value of $1,716,313. Based on these revenues, the 
average price for MHI Deep 7 bottomfish in 2015-16 was approximately 
$7.15/lb. NMFS assumed that either the remaining 40 commercial 
fishermen sold no Deep 7 bottomfish, or the State of Hawaii reporting 
program did not capture their sales. With regard to the 2016-17 fishing 
year currently underway, as of March 28, 2016, revenues from sales of 
Deep 7 bottomfish totaled $1,138,531 from 147,274 lb sold, yielding an 
average price of $7.73 per lb.
    Assuming the fishery attains the ACL of 306,000 in 2017-18, and 
using the 2015-16 average price of $7.15/lb, NMFS expects the potential 
fleet wide revenue during 2017-18 to be $2,187,900 (or approximately 
$2,023,808 under the assumption that 92.5 percent of catch is sold). If 
Deep 7 bottomfish catch reached the ACL during the 2017-18 fishing year 
and all catch were to be sold by the same number of fishermen with 
sales during 2015-16, each of these 328 commercial fishermen could 
potentially earn on average $6,671 from the sale of 933 lb of Deep 7 
bottomfish. If the fishery reaches the ACL, with 92.5 percent of all 
Deep 7 bottomfish catch to be sold, then these 328 commercial fishermen 
would sell an average of 863 lb of Deep 7 bottomfish valued at about 
$6,171, which is well below the $11 million threshold.
    In general, the relative importance of MHI bottomfish to commercial 
participants as a percentage of overall fishing or household income is 
unknown, as the total suite of fishing and other income-generating 
activities by individual operations across the year has not been 
examined.
    Even though this proposed specification would apply to a 
substantial number of vessels, i.e., 100 percent of the bottomfish 
fleet, as NMFS does not expect this rule to have a significantly 
adverse economic impact on individual vessels. Landings information 
from the past five fishing years suggest that Deep 7 bottomfish 
landings are not likely to exceed the ACL proposed for 2017-18. 
Therefore, pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, this proposed 
action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required, and none has been prepared.

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

    Dated: May 19, 2017.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-10704 Filed 5-24-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P