Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 44, 44582-44583 [2017-20396]

Download as PDF 44582 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 184 / Monday, September 25, 2017 / Notices Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record. Dated: September 20, 2017. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2017–20398 Filed 9–22–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF539 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 44 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: The Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 44 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 44 would revise minimum stock size thresholds (MSST) for seven stocks in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef fish fishery management unit. The MSST would be revised for the gag, red grouper, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, and hogfish stocks. The need for Amendment 44 is to provide a sufficient buffer between spawning stock biomass at maximum sustainable yield (BMSY) and MSST to reduce the likelihood that stock status changes frequently between overfished and not overfished as a result of scientific uncertainty or naturalfluctuations in biomass levels. DATES: Written comments on Amendment 44 must be received by November 24, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on Amendment 44 identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2017–0101’’ by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20170101, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:45 Sep 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Peter Hood, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 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 the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of Amendment 44 may be obtained from www.regulations.gov or the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http:// sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. Amendment 44 includes an environmental assessment and a fishery impact statement. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Hood, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727–824–5305, or email: peter.hood@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional fishery management council to submit any FMP or amendment to NMFS for review and approval, partial approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a plan or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying the public that the FMP or amendment is available for review and comment. Amendment 44 to the FMP was prepared by the Council and, if approved, would be incorporated into the management of Gulf reef fish through the FMP. Background In 1999, the Council submitted the Generic Sustainable Fisheries Act Amendment to comply with status determination criteria (SDC) requirements of the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996. NMFS approved most of the fishing mortality threshold (MFMT) criteria, but disapproved all of the definitions for maximum sustainable yield (MSY), optimum yield (OY), and MSST. The Council subsequently began establishing these reference points and SDC on a species-specific basis as stock PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 assessments were later conducted, and is currently preparing a plan amendment to address all of the unassessed reef fish stocks. Amendment 44 focuses on those assessed stocks with MSSTs, which are gag, red grouper, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, and hogfish. Red snapper, gray triggerfish, and greater amberjack are currently considered overfished and are under rebuilding plans. The other 4 stocks are not considered overfished (gag, red grouper, vermilion snapper, and hogfish). For most of the assessed federally managed reef fish stocks in the Gulf with defined MSSTs, the overfished status, when applied, has been evaluated using the formula: (1¥M) * BMSY (M is the natural mortality rate and B is a measure of stock biomass). For some stocks that have a very low natural mortality rate, the formula (1¥M) * BMSY results in an MSST that is very close to the BMSY. For example, red snapper is a moderately long-lived fish that has a natural mortality rate of about 0.1. The above formula results in an MSST of 90 percent of BMSY. In such situations it can be difficult to determine if a stock is actually less than MSST due to the imprecision and accuracy of the data used in stock assessments. In addition, natural fluctuations in stock biomass levels around the BMSY level may temporarily reduce the stock biomass to be less than MSST. Setting a greater buffer between BMSY and MSST can reduce the risk of mistakenly declaring a stock overfished. In Amendment 44, the Council evaluated MSSTs ranging from 0.85*BMSY (or proxy) to 0.50*BMSY (or proxy), and selected 0.50*BMSY (or proxy) as its preferred alternative. This is consistent with the National Standard 1 guidelines and reduces the likelihood of a stock being declared overfished as a result of scientific uncertainty or natural fluctuations in biomass levels. Setting the MSST at this level could result in a very restrictive rebuilding plan if the biomass level of a stock drops below the MSST and NMFS declares that the stock is overfished. However, the Council determined that the requirements for overfishing limits, annual catch limits, and accountability measures, reduce the probability that sustained overfishing would occur and cause a stock to fall below the MSST. The MSST proposed in Amendment 44 is used for at least some stocks managed by three of the other regional fishery management councils (New England, Mid-Atlantic, and North Pacific). If this MSST definition is E:\FR\FM\25SEN1.SGM 25SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 184 / Monday, September 25, 2017 / Notices approved, NMFS expects that the Gulf red snapper and gray triggerfish stocks would be reclassified as not overfished, but rebuilding, because the biomass for these two stocks is currently estimated to be greater than 50 percent of BMSY. The greater amberjack stock would remain classified as overfished. Procedural Aspects of Amendment 44 The Council has submitted Amendment 44 for Secretarial review, approval, and implementation. NMFS’ decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove Amendment 44 will be based, in part, on consideration of comments, recommendations, and information received during the comment period on this notice of availability. After consideration of these factors, and consistency with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws, NMFS will publish a notice of agency action in the Federal Register announcing the Agency’s decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove Amendment 44. Because none of the measures included in the amendment involve regulatory changes, no proposed or final rule is required at this time. If approved, the provisions of Amendment 44 would not be specified in regulations but would be considered an amendment to the FMP. Consideration of Public Comments Comments on Amendment 44 must be received by November 24, 2017. Comments received during the comment period for this notice of availability will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove Amendment 44. Comments received after the comment period will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All comments received by NMFS during the comment period will be addressed in the notice of agency action. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES Dated: September 19, 2017. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–20396 Filed 9–22–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:45 Sep 22, 2017 Jkt 241001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Alaska Rockfish Program: Permits and Reports National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before November 24, 2017. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at pracomments@doc.gov). An electronic copy of the most recent supporting statement for this information collection is available from http://www.cio.noaa.gov/itmanagement/ pdfs/0545ext15.pdf. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Sally Bibb, (907) 586–7228 or sally.bibb@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: I. Abstract This request is an extension of a currently approved information collection. The Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program (RP) was designed to enhance resource conservation and improve economic efficiency in the rockfish fisheries conducted in the Central Gulf of Alaska by establishing cooperatives that receive exclusive harvest privileges. Through the RP, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (1) assigns rockfish quota share (QS) and cooperative quota to participants for rockfish primary and secondary species; (2) allows a participant holding a License Limitation Program (LLP) license with rockfish QS to form a rockfish cooperative with other persons; (3) allows holders of catcher/processor LLP licenses to opt-out of rockfish cooperatives each year; (4) includes an PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 44583 entry level longline fishery; (5) establishes sideboard limits, which are limits designed to prevent participants in the RP from increasing their historical effort in other Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries; and (6) includes monitoring and enforcement provisions. The Rockfish Program is authorized for until December 31, 2021. II. Method of Collection Forms are available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/ central-goa-rockfish-program. The Application for Rockfish Cooperative Fishing Quota (CQ) must be submitted by mail, hand delivery, or fax. The Application for Inter-Cooperative Transfer of Rockfish CQ, the Rockfish Vessel Check-in/Checkout Report, and the Termination of Fishing Declaration must be submitted to NMFS online through eFISH on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/webapps/efish/ login. III. Data OMB Control Number: 0648–0545. Form Number(s): None. Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a current information collection). Affected Public: Business or other forprofit organizations; Individuals or households. Estimated Number of Respondents: 9. Estimated Time per Response: 2 hours for Application for Rockfish Cooperative Fishing Quota (CQ); 10 minutes for Application for Inter-Cooperative Transfer of Rockfish CQ; and 10 minutes for Rockfish Vessel Check-in/Checkout Report with Termination of Fishing Declaration. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours and Equivalent Labor Costs to the Public: 34 hours and $1,300 per year ($37 per hour). Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $47 in recordkeeping/reporting costs for photocopying, faxing, and postage for the annual Application for Rockfish CQ. IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the E:\FR\FM\25SEN1.SGM 25SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 184 (Monday, September 25, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44582-44583]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-20396]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XF539


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 44

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

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council) 
has submitted Amendment 44 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef 
Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) for review, approval, and 
implementation by NMFS. Amendment 44 would revise minimum stock size 
thresholds (MSST) for seven stocks in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) reef 
fish fishery management unit. The MSST would be revised for the gag, 
red grouper, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, greater 
amberjack, and hogfish stocks. The need for Amendment 44 is to provide 
a sufficient buffer between spawning stock biomass at maximum 
sustainable yield (BMSY) and MSST to reduce the likelihood 
that stock status changes frequently between overfished and not 
overfished as a result of scientific uncertainty or naturalfluctuations 
in biomass levels.

DATES: Written comments on Amendment 44 must be received by November 
24, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on Amendment 44 identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2017-0101'' by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0101, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Peter Hood, NMFS 
Southeast Regional Office, 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 the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).
    Electronic copies of Amendment 44 may be obtained from 
www.regulations.gov or the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. Amendment 44 includes an environmental assessment 
and a fishery impact statement.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Hood, NMFS Southeast Regional 
Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: peter.hood@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional 
fishery management council to submit any FMP or amendment to NMFS for 
review and approval, partial approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-
Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a plan or 
amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying 
the public that the FMP or amendment is available for review and 
comment.
    Amendment 44 to the FMP was prepared by the Council and, if 
approved, would be incorporated into the management of Gulf reef fish 
through the FMP.

Background

    In 1999, the Council submitted the Generic Sustainable Fisheries 
Act Amendment to comply with status determination criteria (SDC) 
requirements of the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996. NMFS approved 
most of the fishing mortality threshold (MFMT) criteria, but 
disapproved all of the definitions for maximum sustainable yield (MSY), 
optimum yield (OY), and MSST. The Council subsequently began 
establishing these reference points and SDC on a species-specific basis 
as stock assessments were later conducted, and is currently preparing a 
plan amendment to address all of the unassessed reef fish stocks. 
Amendment 44 focuses on those assessed stocks with MSSTs, which are 
gag, red grouper, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish, 
greater amberjack, and hogfish. Red snapper, gray triggerfish, and 
greater amberjack are currently considered overfished and are under 
rebuilding plans. The other 4 stocks are not considered overfished 
(gag, red grouper, vermilion snapper, and hogfish).
    For most of the assessed federally managed reef fish stocks in the 
Gulf with defined MSSTs, the overfished status, when applied, has been 
evaluated using the formula:
    (1-M) * BMSY (M is the natural mortality rate and B is a 
measure of stock biomass). For some stocks that have a very low natural 
mortality rate, the formula (1-M) * BMSY results in an MSST 
that is very close to the BMSY. For example, red snapper is 
a moderately long-lived fish that has a natural mortality rate of about 
0.1. The above formula results in an MSST of 90 percent of 
BMSY. In such situations it can be difficult to determine if 
a stock is actually less than MSST due to the imprecision and accuracy 
of the data used in stock assessments. In addition, natural 
fluctuations in stock biomass levels around the BMSY level 
may temporarily reduce the stock biomass to be less than MSST. Setting 
a greater buffer between BMSY and MSST can reduce the risk 
of mistakenly declaring a stock overfished.
    In Amendment 44, the Council evaluated MSSTs ranging from 
0.85*BMSY (or proxy) to 0.50*BMSY (or proxy), and 
selected 0.50*BMSY (or proxy) as its preferred alternative. 
This is consistent with the National Standard 1 guidelines and reduces 
the likelihood of a stock being declared overfished as a result of 
scientific uncertainty or natural fluctuations in biomass levels. 
Setting the MSST at this level could result in a very restrictive 
rebuilding plan if the biomass level of a stock drops below the MSST 
and NMFS declares that the stock is overfished. However, the Council 
determined that the requirements for overfishing limits, annual catch 
limits, and accountability measures, reduce the probability that 
sustained overfishing would occur and cause a stock to fall below the 
MSST.
    The MSST proposed in Amendment 44 is used for at least some stocks 
managed by three of the other regional fishery management councils (New 
England, Mid-Atlantic, and North Pacific). If this MSST definition is

[[Page 44583]]

approved, NMFS expects that the Gulf red snapper and gray triggerfish 
stocks would be reclassified as not overfished, but rebuilding, because 
the biomass for these two stocks is currently estimated to be greater 
than 50 percent of BMSY. The greater amberjack stock would 
remain classified as overfished.

Procedural Aspects of Amendment 44

    The Council has submitted Amendment 44 for Secretarial review, 
approval, and implementation. NMFS' decision to approve, partially 
approve, or disapprove Amendment 44 will be based, in part, on 
consideration of comments, recommendations, and information received 
during the comment period on this notice of availability. After 
consideration of these factors, and consistency with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and other applicable laws, NMFS will publish a notice of 
agency action in the Federal Register announcing the Agency's decision 
to approve, partially approve, or disapprove Amendment 44. Because none 
of the measures included in the amendment involve regulatory changes, 
no proposed or final rule is required at this time. If approved, the 
provisions of Amendment 44 would not be specified in regulations but 
would be considered an amendment to the FMP.

Consideration of Public Comments

    Comments on Amendment 44 must be received by November 24, 2017. 
Comments received during the comment period for this notice of 
availability will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, 
partially approve, or disapprove Amendment 44. Comments received after 
the comment period will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All 
comments received by NMFS during the comment period will be addressed 
in the notice of agency action.

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

    Dated: September 19, 2017.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-20396 Filed 9-22-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P