Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 46000-46002 [2017-21209]

Download as PDF 46000 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 190 / Tuesday, October 3, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Dated: September 7, 2017. Cecil Rodrigues, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III. Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq. § 52.1070 * Subpart V—Maryland 40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows: PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS 1. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows: ■ Identification of plan. * * (e) * * * * * 2. In § 52.1070, the table in paragraph (e) is amended by adding an entry for ‘‘2011 Base Year Inventory for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard’’ at the end of the table to read as follows: ■ EPA APPROVED NON-REGULATORY AND QUASI-REGULATORY MATERIAL State submittal date Name of non-regulatory SIP revision Applicable geographic area * * 2011 Base Year Emissions Inventory for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Additional explanation * 12/30/2016 * 10/3/2017 [Insert Federal Register citation]. * See § 52.1075(r). * * Baltimore, Maryland 2008 Ozone Moderate Nonattainment Area. 3. Section 52.1075 is amended by adding paragraph (r) to read as follows: ■ § 52.1075 Base year emissions inventory. * * * * * (r) EPA approves as a revision to the Maryland state implementation plan the 2011 base year emissions inventory for the Baltimore, Maryland moderate nonattainment area for the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards submitted by the Maryland Department of the Environment on December 30, 2016. The 2011 base year emissions inventory includes emissions estimates that cover the general source categories of stationary point, quasipoint, area (nonpoint), nonroad mobile, onroad mobile, and Marine-Air-Rail (M– A–R). The inventory includes actual annual emissions and typical summer day emissions for the months of May through September for the ozone precursors, VOC and NOX. [FR Doc. 2017–21106 Filed 10–2–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150121066–5717–02] RIN 0648–XF724 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES EPA approval date Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Oct 02, 2017 Jkt 244001 Temporary rule; inseason General category bluefin tuna quota transfer. ACTION: NMFS is transferring 156.4 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the General category for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year, to account for overharvests of the January, June through August, and September subquotas. This action is intended to preserve the opportunity for General category fishermen to participate in the October through November and December General category fisheries to the extent that transferrable quota is available and is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels when fishing commercially for BFT. DATES: The quota transfer is effective September 28, 2017 through December 31, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978–281–9260. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and as implemented by the United States among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended by Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014). NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota. The base quota for the General category is 466.7 mt, as established in the 2015 BFT quota final rule (80 FR 52198, August 28, 2015). See § 635.27(a). Each of the General category time periods (January, June through August, September, October through November, and December) is allocated a ‘‘subquota’’ or portion of the annual General category quota. Although it is called the ‘‘January’’ subquota, the regulations allow the General category fishery under this quota to continue until the subquota is reached or March 31, whichever comes first. The subquotas for each time period are as follows: 24.7 mt for January; 233.3 mt for June through August; 123.7 mt for September; 60.7 mt for October through November; and 24.3 mt for December. Any unused General category quota rolls forward within the fishing year, which coincides with the calendar year, from one time period to the next, and is available for use in subsequent time periods. On December 19, 2016, NMFS published an inseason action transferring 16.3 mt of BFT quota from the December 2017 subquota to the E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 190 / Tuesday, October 3, 2017 / Rules and Regulations jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES January 2017 subquota period, resulting in a subquota of 41 mt for the January 2017 period and a subquota of 8 mt for the December 2017 period (81 FR 91873). For 2017, NMFS also transferred 40 mt from the Reserve to the General category effective March 2, resulting in an adjusted General category quota of 506.7 mt (82 FR 12747, March 7, 2017). The 2017 General category fishery is open until December 31, 2017, or until the General category quota is reached, whichever comes first. Prior to this action, the adjusted Reserve category quota was 156.4 mt, and was most recently adjusted in the action to augment the 2017 BFT Reserve category quota with available underharvest of the 2016 adjusted U.S. BFT quota (82 FR 43500, September 18, 2017). Quota Transfer Under § 635.27(a)(9), NMFS has the authority to transfer quota among fishing categories or subcategories, after considering regulatory determination criteria at § 635.27(a)(8). NMFS has considered all of the relevant determination criteria and their applicability to the General category fishery. These considerations include, but are not limited to, the following: NMFS considered the catches of the General category quota to date (including during the summer/fall and winter fisheries in the last several years), and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made (§ 635.27(a)(8)(ii) and (ix)). Preliminary landings data as of September 22, 2017, indicate that the General category has landed 596 mt this year, which exceeds the overall General category quota of 506.7 mt. NMFS closed the General category fishery when the September subquota (123.7 mt) was met, effective September 17, 2017 (82 FR 43711, September 19, 2017). Without a quota transfer at this time, the October through November and December General category subquotas would not be available to General category participants because the entire General category quota of 506.7 mt has been reached and exceeded. Approximately 81 percent (717.3 mt) of the total of the BFT subquotas for all commercial categories (888.7 mt, as published in the 2015 BFT quota final rule) has been harvested as of September 22, 2017, however, and NMFS anticipates that some amount of quota may remain unused by the end of the year even with the transfer. Absent a transfer at this time, this segment of the fishery would have to remain closed if no adjustment is made, even though NMFS anticipates that commercial-sized BFT will be readily available to vessels VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Oct 02, 2017 Jkt 244001 fishing under the General category quota when the General category fishery is scheduled to reopen on October 1, 2017. Transferring 156.4 mt of BFT quota from the Reserve category would allow this segment of the fishery to continue fishing and would result in a total of 663.1 mt being available to the General category for the 2017 General category fishing season. Regarding the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota (here, the General category) to harvest the additional amount of BFT quota transferred before the end of the fishing year (§ 635.27(a)(8)(iii)), NMFS considered General category landings over the last several years and landings to date this year. Landings are highly variable and depend on access to commercial-sized BFT and fishing conditions, among other factors. A portion of the transferred quota covers overharvests in the category as prosecuted to date, and thus has already been harvested. For the remainder of the transferred quota, which make the remaining subquotas whole to the extent that transferrable quota is available, there is a high probability that the transferred quota will be harvested during the October through November and December time periods. NMFS also considered the estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded (§ 635.27(a)(8)(iv)) and the ability to account for all 2017 landings and dead discards. In the last several years, total U.S. BFT landings have been below the total available U.S. quota such that the United States has carried forward the maximum amount of underharvest allowed by ICCAT from one year to the next. NMFS will need to account for 2017 landings and dead discards within the adjusted U.S. quota, consistent with ICCAT recommendations, and NMFS anticipates having sufficient quota to do that. Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock (§ 635.27(a)(8)(i)), biological samples collected from BFT landed by General category fishermen and provided by BFT dealers continue to provide NMFS with valuable data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land BFT over the longest time-period allowable would support the collection of a broad range of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes. PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 46001 This transfer would be consistent with the current U.S. quota, which was established and analyzed in the 2015 BFT quota final rule, and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments. (§ 635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). Another principal consideration is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full annual U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and Amendment 7, including to achieve optimum yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations (related to § 635.27(a)(8)(x)). Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring all of the available 156.4 mt from the Reserve category to the General category with the objective of making the remaining subquotas whole. Therefore, NMFS adjusts the General category quota to 663.1 mt for the 2017 General category fishing season (i.e., through December 31, 2017, or until the General category quota is reached, whichever comes first), and adjusts the Reserve category quota to 0 mt. If necessary, NMFS will close the General category fishery for October through November and for December when the available subquotas for those time periods are reached. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS’ ability to timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov or by using the HMS Catch Reporting App. Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional action (e.g., quota adjustment or closure) is necessary to ensure available subquotas are not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281–9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 46002 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 190 / Tuesday, October 3, 2017 / Rules and Regulations NMFS reminds General category participants that when the fishery reopens October 1, 2017, the BFT General category daily retention limit will be one large medium or giant BFT (measuring 73″ or greater) per vessel per day/trip. Dated: September 28, 2017. Emily Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. Classification DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement the quota transfer for the remainder of 2017 is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as such a delay would result in continued closure of the General category fishery (because the available quota has been met) and the need to re-open the fishery later in the October through November time period, rather than the fishery automatically reopening on October 1. The delay would preclude the fishery from harvesting BFT that are available on the fishing grounds and that might otherwise become unavailable during a delay. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For these reasons, there also is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.27(a)(9) (Inseason adjustments) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Claire Fitz-Gerald, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281–9255. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 151211999–6343–02] RIN 0648–XF713 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Georges Bank Cod Possession and Trip Limit Adjustment for the Common Pool Fishery National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment. AGENCY: This action decreases the possession and trip limits for Georges Bank cod for Northeast multispecies common pool vessels for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year, through April 30, 2018. Recent catch data reported through September 19, 2017, indicates that the common pool fishery has already caught 2.4 metric tons, or 65.7 percent, of the Trimester 2 Georges Bank cod Total Allowable Catch since the second trimester began on September 1, 2017. We project that, at its current trajectory, the common pool will catch its Trimester 2 TAC well before the end of the second trimester, and is also at risk of exceeding its annual 2017 quota. This possession and trip limit decrease is intended to prevent the common pool fishery from exceeding its allocation for this stock prior to the end of the fishing year. DATES: This possession and trip limit decrease is effective September 28, 2017, through April 30, 2018. SUMMARY: The regulations at § 648.86(o) authorize the Regional Administrator to adjust the possession and trip limits for common pool vessels in order to help prevent the overharvest or underharvest of the common pool quotas. Recent catch data reported through September 19, 2017, indicates that the common pool fishery has already caught 2.4 metric tons, or 65.7 percent, of the Trimester 2 Georges Bank (GB) cod Total Allowable Catch (TAC) since the second trimester began on September 1, 2017. The current GB cod possession and trip limit for GB cod is 250 pounds per DAS, and up to 500 pounds per trip. Under these possession limits, the common pool fishery caught its Trimester 1 TAC and triggered an area closure for GB cod on July 27, 2017. We project that, at its current trajectory, the common pool will catch its Trimester 2 TAC well before the end of the second trimester, and is also at risk of exceeding its annual 2017 quota. In the event that the common pool exceeds its 2017 quota, regulations require that the overage must be deducted from the following year’s quota, which would have a negative economic impact on common pool vessels. Therefore, a decrease to the possession and trip limits is being implemented to help prevent the common pool fishery from exceeding its quota for the 2017 fishing year. Effective September 28, 2017, the GB cod possession and trip limits are decreased to 25 lb (11.3 kg) per day and 50 lb (22.7 kg) per trip, as summarized in the table below. Common pool groundfish vessels that have declared their trip through the vessel monitoring system (VMS) or interactive voice response system, and crossed the VMS demarcation line prior to September 28, 2017, are not subject to the new possession and trip limits for that trip. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [FR Doc. 2017–21209 Filed 9–28–17; 4:15 pm] TABLE 1—NEW POSSESSION AND TRIP LIMITS FOR GB COD Current possession/trip limits New possession/trip limits Days-At-Sea (A DAS) .......................... jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES Permit type 250 lb (113.4 kg) per DAS, up to 500 lb (226.8 kg) per trip. 250 lb (113.4 kg) per trip ........................................ 25 lb (11.3 kg) per trip ............................................ 25 lb (11.3 kg) per trip, within combined 300 lb (136.1 kg) trip limit for cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder. 25 lb (11.3 kg) per DAS, up to 50 lb (22.6 kg) per trip. 25 lb (11.3 kg) per trip. Unchanged. Unchanged. Handgear A .......................................... Handgear B .......................................... Small Vessel Category ......................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:04 Oct 02, 2017 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 190 (Tuesday, October 3, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 46000-46002]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21209]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 150121066-5717-02]
RIN 0648-XF724


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason General category bluefin tuna quota 
transfer.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is transferring 156.4 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic 
bluefin tuna (BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the General 
category for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year, to account for 
overharvests of the January, June through August, and September 
subquotas. This action is intended to preserve the opportunity for 
General category fishermen to participate in the October through 
November and December General category fisheries to the extent that 
transferrable quota is available and is based on consideration of the 
regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and 
applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted 
vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category 
permitted vessels when fishing commercially for BFT.

DATES: The quota transfer is effective September 28, 2017 through 
December 31, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978-
281-9260.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) and as implemented by the United States among the various 
domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 
2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan 
(2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended 
by Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 
71510, December 2, 2014). NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-
Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable 
opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota.
    The base quota for the General category is 466.7 mt, as established 
in the 2015 BFT quota final rule (80 FR 52198, August 28, 2015). See 
Sec.  635.27(a). Each of the General category time periods (January, 
June through August, September, October through November, and December) 
is allocated a ``subquota'' or portion of the annual General category 
quota. Although it is called the ``January'' subquota, the regulations 
allow the General category fishery under this quota to continue until 
the subquota is reached or March 31, whichever comes first. The 
subquotas for each time period are as follows: 24.7 mt for January; 
233.3 mt for June through August; 123.7 mt for September; 60.7 mt for 
October through November; and 24.3 mt for December. Any unused General 
category quota rolls forward within the fishing year, which coincides 
with the calendar year, from one time period to the next, and is 
available for use in subsequent time periods. On December 19, 2016, 
NMFS published an inseason action transferring 16.3 mt of BFT quota 
from the December 2017 subquota to the

[[Page 46001]]

January 2017 subquota period, resulting in a subquota of 41 mt for the 
January 2017 period and a subquota of 8 mt for the December 2017 period 
(81 FR 91873). For 2017, NMFS also transferred 40 mt from the Reserve 
to the General category effective March 2, resulting in an adjusted 
General category quota of 506.7 mt (82 FR 12747, March 7, 2017). The 
2017 General category fishery is open until December 31, 2017, or until 
the General category quota is reached, whichever comes first. Prior to 
this action, the adjusted Reserve category quota was 156.4 mt, and was 
most recently adjusted in the action to augment the 2017 BFT Reserve 
category quota with available underharvest of the 2016 adjusted U.S. 
BFT quota (82 FR 43500, September 18, 2017).

Quota Transfer

    Under Sec.  635.27(a)(9), NMFS has the authority to transfer quota 
among fishing categories or subcategories, after considering regulatory 
determination criteria at Sec.  635.27(a)(8). NMFS has considered all 
of the relevant determination criteria and their applicability to the 
General category fishery. These considerations include, but are not 
limited to, the following:
    NMFS considered the catches of the General category quota to date 
(including during the summer/fall and winter fisheries in the last 
several years), and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the 
fishery if no adjustment is made (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(ii) and (ix)). 
Preliminary landings data as of September 22, 2017, indicate that the 
General category has landed 596 mt this year, which exceeds the overall 
General category quota of 506.7 mt. NMFS closed the General category 
fishery when the September subquota (123.7 mt) was met, effective 
September 17, 2017 (82 FR 43711, September 19, 2017). Without a quota 
transfer at this time, the October through November and December 
General category subquotas would not be available to General category 
participants because the entire General category quota of 506.7 mt has 
been reached and exceeded. Approximately 81 percent (717.3 mt) of the 
total of the BFT subquotas for all commercial categories (888.7 mt, as 
published in the 2015 BFT quota final rule) has been harvested as of 
September 22, 2017, however, and NMFS anticipates that some amount of 
quota may remain unused by the end of the year even with the transfer. 
Absent a transfer at this time, this segment of the fishery would have 
to remain closed if no adjustment is made, even though NMFS anticipates 
that commercial-sized BFT will be readily available to vessels fishing 
under the General category quota when the General category fishery is 
scheduled to reopen on October 1, 2017. Transferring 156.4 mt of BFT 
quota from the Reserve category would allow this segment of the fishery 
to continue fishing and would result in a total of 663.1 mt being 
available to the General category for the 2017 General category fishing 
season.
    Regarding the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the 
particular category quota (here, the General category) to harvest the 
additional amount of BFT quota transferred before the end of the 
fishing year (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(iii)), NMFS considered General 
category landings over the last several years and landings to date this 
year. Landings are highly variable and depend on access to commercial-
sized BFT and fishing conditions, among other factors. A portion of the 
transferred quota covers overharvests in the category as prosecuted to 
date, and thus has already been harvested. For the remainder of the 
transferred quota, which make the remaining subquotas whole to the 
extent that transferrable quota is available, there is a high 
probability that the transferred quota will be harvested during the 
October through November and December time periods.
    NMFS also considered the estimated amounts by which quotas for 
other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded (Sec.  
635.27(a)(8)(iv)) and the ability to account for all 2017 landings and 
dead discards. In the last several years, total U.S. BFT landings have 
been below the total available U.S. quota such that the United States 
has carried forward the maximum amount of underharvest allowed by ICCAT 
from one year to the next. NMFS will need to account for 2017 landings 
and dead discards within the adjusted U.S. quota, consistent with ICCAT 
recommendations, and NMFS anticipates having sufficient quota to do 
that.
    Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in 
the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the 
status of the stock (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(i)), biological samples 
collected from BFT landed by General category fishermen and provided by 
BFT dealers continue to provide NMFS with valuable data for ongoing 
scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive 
status. Additional opportunity to land BFT over the longest time-period 
allowable would support the collection of a broad range of data for 
these studies and for stock monitoring purposes.
    This transfer would be consistent with the current U.S. quota, 
which was established and analyzed in the 2015 BFT quota final rule, 
and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments. 
(Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(v) and (vi)). Another principal consideration is 
the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full annual 
U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 
Consolidated HMS FMP and Amendment 7, including to achieve optimum 
yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit 
categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations (related to 
Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(x)).
    Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring all of the 
available 156.4 mt from the Reserve category to the General category 
with the objective of making the remaining subquotas whole. Therefore, 
NMFS adjusts the General category quota to 663.1 mt for the 2017 
General category fishing season (i.e., through December 31, 2017, or 
until the General category quota is reached, whichever comes first), 
and adjusts the Reserve category quota to 0 mt. If necessary, NMFS will 
close the General category fishery for October through November and for 
December when the available subquotas for those time periods are 
reached.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are 
required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer 
receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS' ability to 
timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, 
as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. General and 
HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report the 
catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the 
landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov or by 
using the HMS Catch Reporting App. Depending on the level of fishing 
effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional 
action (e.g., quota adjustment or closure) is necessary to ensure 
available subquotas are not exceeded or to enhance scientific data 
collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If 
needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal 
Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas 
Information Line at (978) 281-9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for 
updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments.

[[Page 46002]]

    NMFS reminds General category participants that when the fishery 
reopens October 1, 2017, the BFT General category daily retention limit 
will be one large medium or giant BFT (measuring 73'' or greater) per 
vessel per day/trip.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond 
to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, 
the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in 
the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public 
comment to implement the quota transfer for the remainder of 2017 is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest as such a delay would 
result in continued closure of the General category fishery (because 
the available quota has been met) and the need to re-open the fishery 
later in the October through November time period, rather than the 
fishery automatically re-opening on October 1. The delay would preclude 
the fishery from harvesting BFT that are available on the fishing 
grounds and that might otherwise become unavailable during a delay. 
Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive 
prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For these reasons, 
there also is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day 
delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec.  635.27(a)(9) (Inseason 
adjustments) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: September 28, 2017.
Emily Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-21209 Filed 9-28-17; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P