Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scup Fishery; 2018 and Projected 2019 Specifications, 51594-51596 [2017-24205]

Download as PDF 51594 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 214 / Tuesday, November 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules amounts established in a dollar amount according to the greater of (1) The change in the cost of living determined as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, or (2) One-and-a-half percent (1.5%). (3) Such royalty rates shall be fixed at the nearest dollar. * * * * * Dated: October 31, 2017. Suzanne M. Barnett, Chief U.S. Copyright Royalty Judge. [FR Doc. 2017–23991 Filed 11–3–17; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 1410–72–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R05–OAR–2017–0280; FRL–9969–88– Region 5] Air Plan Approval; Wisconsin; 2017 Revisions to NR 400 and 406 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: nshattuck on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the Wisconsin State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to EPA on May 16, 2017. The revision replaces the definition of ‘‘emergency electric generator’’ with a broader definition of ‘‘restricted internal combustion engine’’. In addition, the revision makes amendments to procedures for revoking construction permits as well as language changes and other administrative updates. Lastly, WDNR is withdrawing two Wisconsin Administrative Code provisions that affect eligibility under general and construction permits. WDNR requested these changes to align state and Federal requirements and ensure consistency. EPA is proposing approval of Wisconsin’s May 16, 2017, request because the Agency has made the preliminary determination that this SIP revision is consistent with the Clean Air Act and applicable EPA regulations regarding PSD. DATES: Comments must be received on or before December 7, 2017. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–R05– OAR–2017–0280 at http:// www.regulations.gov or via email to damico.genevieve@epa.gov. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:06 Nov 06, 2017 Jkt 244001 from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include a discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the Web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/ commenting-epa-dockets. Radhica Kanniganti, Environmental Engineer, Air Permits Section, Air Programs Branch (AR–18J), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 886–8097, kanniganti.radhica@epa.gov. In the Final Rules section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving the State’s SIP submittal as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no adverse comments are received in response to this rule, this rule will be effective on January 8, 2018. If EPA receives adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Dated: October 6, 2017. Robert A. Kaplan, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 5. [FR Doc. 2017–23448 Filed 11–6–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 170828822–7822–01] RIN 0648–XF669 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scup Fishery; 2018 and Projected 2019 Specifications National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes revised scup specifications for the 2018 fishing year and projected specifications for 2019. Updated scientific information regarding the scup stock indicates that higher catch limits may be implemented to achieve optimum yield. This action is intended to inform the public of the proposed specifications for the 2018 fishing year and projected specifications for 2019. DATES: Comments must be received by 5 p.m. local time, on November 22, 2017. ADDRESSES: An environmental assessment (EA) was prepared for this action and describes the proposed measures and other considered alternatives, and provides an analysis of the impacts of the proposed measures and alternatives. Copies of the Specifications Document, including the EA, are available on request from Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 North State Street, Dover, DE 19901. These documents are also accessible via the Internet at http://www.mafmc.org. You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA–NMFS– 2017–0121, by either of the following methods: Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. 1. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20170121, 2. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\07NOP1.SGM 07NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 214 / Tuesday, November 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules nshattuck on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS 3. Enter or attach your comments. —OR— Mail: Submit written comments to John Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on the Proposed Rule for Revised Scup Specifications.’’ 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 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). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Gilbert, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9244. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: General Background The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission cooperatively manage the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries. The Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and its implementing regulations outline the Council’s process for establishing specifications. Specifications in these fisheries include various catch and landing subdivisions, such as the commercial and recreational sector annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and sectorspecific landing limits (i.e., the commercial fishery quota and recreational harvest limit). Annual specifications may be proposed for three-year periods, with the Council reviewing the specifications each year to ensure that previously established multi-year specifications remain appropriate. Following review, NMFS announces the final annual specifications in the Federal Register. The FMP also contains formulas to divide the specification catch limits into commercial and recreational fishery allocations, state-by-state quotas, and quota periods, depending on the species in question. Rulemaking for measures used to manage the recreational fisheries (minimum fish sizes, open seasons, and bag limits) for these three species occurs separately, and typically VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:06 Nov 06, 2017 Jkt 244001 takes place in the spring of each year. The summer flounder and black sea bass specifications implemented through previous rulemaking remain unchanged by this action. On December 28, 2015, NMFS published a final rule implementing the Council’s recommended 2016–2018 specifications for the scup fishery (80 FR 80689). The Council intended to reconsider the specifications set for fishing year 2018 following the review of a scup assessment update provided in July 2017. The assessment update indicated the scup stock is not overfished and overfishing did not occur in 2016, the most recent year for which information is available. The update estimated that the scup spawning stock biomass (SSB) is 2.1 times the proxy reference point for SSB at maximum sustainable yield (MSY), and fishing mortality (F) in 2016 was about 63 percent of the FMSY proxy reference point. In addition, the update estimated that the 2015 year class was about 2.1 times the average recruitment (i.e., number of age 0 scup) from 1984– 2016. The 2016 year class was 46 percent below the 1984–2016 recruitment average. Although the 2016 year class was estimated to be below average, the 2015 year class was so large that the assessment update provided higher revised overfishing limit (OFL) recommendations for 2018 and 2019. Compared to the previously implemented 2018 OFL (29.68 million lb, 13,462 mt), the 2018 recommendation is a 52-percent increase. Proposed Specifications The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) met on July 19–20, 2017, to discuss the assessment update results and resulting OFL estimates, to identify an updated acceptable biological catch (ABC) level for 2018, and to project an ABC for the 2019 fishing year. To derive the ABC recommendations, the SSC applied the Council’s standard risk policy for a species with a typical life history, which produces ABCs estimated to result in a 60-percent probability of not overfishing the stock. The process resulted in ABCs of 39.14 million lb (17,755 metric tons (mt)) for 2018 and 36.43 million lb (16,525 mt) for 2019 (Table 1). The revised 2018 ABC is approximately 45 percent higher than the previously established 2018 ABC. Under the FMP, 22 percent of the ABC is allocated to the recreational fishery, while 78 percent is allocation to the commercial fishery. Following the SSC meeting, the Monitoring Committee met on July 24, 2017, to discuss ACLs, ACTs, PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 51595 commercial quotas, and recreational harvest limits for the 2018 and 2019 fishing years. In light of the substantial increase in the ABC, the Monitoring Committee recommended a moderate increase for the fishery and suggested setting the 2018 commercial ACT at 25.85 million lb (11,725 mt) and the recreational ACT at 7.29 million lb (3,307 mt). These recommended ACTs were 15 percent lower than those formulaically resulting from the SSC’s ABC recommendation, but 22.5 percent higher than what is currently in place for 2018. The Monitoring Committee also recommended setting the 2019 ACTs at the same level as the 2018 ACTs. The Monitoring Committee decided that there was enough management uncertainty around the upcoming adjustments to the commercial quota periods in 2018 and the outcome of the upcoming recreational harvest estimate revisions through the Marine Recreational Information Program to warrant the inclusion of a buffer between the ACLs and ACTs, which would provide for more stability in the fishery by using constant ACTs for both years. The Council and Commission’s Scup Management Board meet jointly on August 8, 2017, to review the SSC’s and Monitoring Committee’s recommendations. They found merit in the idea of offering stability in the fishery by allowing for a buffer between the ACLs and ACTs, but did not accept the Monitoring Committee’s specific recommendations. Instead, the Council and Commission recommended constant sector-specific ACTs across 2018 and 2019, based on the 2019 ABC and setting the ACLs for 2019 equal to the ACTs (i.e., 8.01 million lb (3,636 mt) for the recreational fishery and 23.98 million lb (10,879 mt) for the commercial fishery). After removing the sector-specific estimated discards from the ACTs, the scup commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits would be those shown in Table 1. These values are approximately 40 percent higher than the current 2018 commercial quota and recreational harvest limit. The Monitoring Committee did not recommend any changes to the current commercial measures, including the 9inch (22.9-cm) minimum fish size, the mesh size requirements and seasonal possession limit thresholds, and the pot/trap gear requirements. The Council will revisit its decision on the projected 2019 specifications following the SSC’s review next summer. By providing projected specifications for 2019, NMFS hopes to assist fishery participants in planning E:\FR\FM\07NOP1.SGM 07NOP1 51596 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 214 / Tuesday, November 7, 2017 / Proposed Rules ahead. Final 2019 specifications will be published in the Federal Register before the start of the 2019 fishing year (January 1, 2019) based on the Council’s review. TABLE 1—COUNCIL-RECOMMENDED SCUP SPECIFICATIONS FOR 2018 AND PROJECTED FOR 2019 Scup specifications 2018 (current) million lb OFL .......................................................... ABC .......................................................... Commercial ACL ...................................... Commercial ACT ...................................... Commercial Discards ............................... Commercial Quota ................................... Recreational ACL ..................................... Recreational ACT ..................................... Recreational Discards .............................. Recreational Harvest Limit ....................... 29.68 27.05 21.10 21.10 3.76 17.34 5.95 5.95 0.75 5.21 Classification nshattuck on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This action is exempt from review under E.O. 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council conducted an evaluation of the potential socioeconomic impacts of the proposed measures in conjunction with an EA. According to the commercial ownership database, 517 affiliate firms landed scup during the 2014–2016 period, with 513 of those business affiliates categorized as small businesses and 4 categorized as large businesses. Scup represented approximately 3.94 percent of the average receipts of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:06 Nov 06, 2017 Jkt 244001 2018 (revised) mt million lb 13,462 12,270 9,571 9,571 1,705 7,866 2,699 2,699 338 2,361 45.05 39.14 30.53 28.42 4.43 23.98 8.61 8.01 0.65 7.37 small entities considered and 0.11 percent of the average receipts of the large entities considered over this time period. The ownership data for the for-hire fleet indicate that there were 359 forhire affiliate firms generating revenues from fishing recreationally for various species during the 2014–2016 period, all of which are categorized as small businesses. Although it is not possible to derive what proportion of the overall revenues came from specific fishing activities, given the popularity of scup as a recreational species it is likely that revenues generated from scup are important for some, if not all, of these firms. The proposed measure would increase both the 2018 commercial quota and the 2018 recreational harvest limit by around 40 percent. However, the scup fishery is a market-limited fishery (i.e., market conditions are typically the limiting factor, not allowable landings) and it is expected that, unless market conditions change drastically, commercial and recreational landings will likely be similar to current landings. As a result, this action is not expected to adversely impact revenues for vessels that fish for scup PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 2019 (projected) mt million lb 20,433 17,755 13,849 12,890 2,011 10,879 3,906 3,636 293 3,342 mt 41.03 36.43 28.42 28.42 4.43 23.98 8.01 8.01 0.65 7.37 18,612 16,525 12,890 12,890 2,011 10,879 3,636 3,636 293 3,342 commercially. The increase in the recreational harvest limit does not directly impact the party/charter fishery. Future regulatory action may be needed to adjust current scup recreational management measures (i.e., bag limits, seasons, and minimum sizes), and consideration of the impact of those potential future measures on small entities engaged in the for-hire fishery will be evaluated at that time, should such a regulatory action become necessary. Because this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. There are no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements contained in any of the alternatives considered for this action. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 2, 2017. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–24205 Filed 11–6–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\07NOP1.SGM 07NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 214 (Tuesday, November 7, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 51594-51596]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-24205]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 170828822-7822-01]
RIN 0648-XF669


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scup Fishery; 2018 
and Projected 2019 Specifications

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes revised scup specifications for the 2018 fishing 
year and projected specifications for 2019. Updated scientific 
information regarding the scup stock indicates that higher catch limits 
may be implemented to achieve optimum yield. This action is intended to 
inform the public of the proposed specifications for the 2018 fishing 
year and projected specifications for 2019.

DATES: Comments must be received by 5 p.m. local time, on November 22, 
2017.

ADDRESSES: An environmental assessment (EA) was prepared for this 
action and describes the proposed measures and other considered 
alternatives, and provides an analysis of the impacts of the proposed 
measures and alternatives. Copies of the Specifications Document, 
including the EA, are available on request from Dr. Christopher M. 
Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 
Suite 201, 800 North State Street, Dover, DE 19901. These documents are 
also accessible via the Internet at http://www.mafmc.org.
    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-
2017-0121, by either of the following methods:
    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via 
the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
    1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0121,
    2. Click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, 
and

[[Page 51595]]

    3. Enter or attach your comments.

--OR--
    Mail: Submit written comments to John Bullard, Regional 
Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic 
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, 
``Comments on the Proposed Rule for Revised Scup Specifications.''
    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 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).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Gilbert, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9244.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

General Background

    The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States 
Marine Fisheries Commission cooperatively manage the summer flounder, 
scup, and black sea bass fisheries. The Summer Flounder, Scup, and 
Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and its implementing 
regulations outline the Council's process for establishing 
specifications. Specifications in these fisheries include various catch 
and landing subdivisions, such as the commercial and recreational 
sector annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and 
sector-specific landing limits (i.e., the commercial fishery quota and 
recreational harvest limit). Annual specifications may be proposed for 
three-year periods, with the Council reviewing the specifications each 
year to ensure that previously established multi-year specifications 
remain appropriate. Following review, NMFS announces the final annual 
specifications in the Federal Register. The FMP also contains formulas 
to divide the specification catch limits into commercial and 
recreational fishery allocations, state-by-state quotas, and quota 
periods, depending on the species in question. Rulemaking for measures 
used to manage the recreational fisheries (minimum fish sizes, open 
seasons, and bag limits) for these three species occurs separately, and 
typically takes place in the spring of each year. The summer flounder 
and black sea bass specifications implemented through previous 
rulemaking remain unchanged by this action.
    On December 28, 2015, NMFS published a final rule implementing the 
Council's recommended 2016-2018 specifications for the scup fishery (80 
FR 80689). The Council intended to reconsider the specifications set 
for fishing year 2018 following the review of a scup assessment update 
provided in July 2017.
    The assessment update indicated the scup stock is not overfished 
and overfishing did not occur in 2016, the most recent year for which 
information is available. The update estimated that the scup spawning 
stock biomass (SSB) is 2.1 times the proxy reference point for SSB at 
maximum sustainable yield (MSY), and fishing mortality (F) in 2016 was 
about 63 percent of the FMSY proxy reference point. In 
addition, the update estimated that the 2015 year class was about 2.1 
times the average recruitment (i.e., number of age 0 scup) from 1984-
2016. The 2016 year class was 46 percent below the 1984-2016 
recruitment average. Although the 2016 year class was estimated to be 
below average, the 2015 year class was so large that the assessment 
update provided higher revised overfishing limit (OFL) recommendations 
for 2018 and 2019. Compared to the previously implemented 2018 OFL 
(29.68 million lb, 13,462 mt), the 2018 recommendation is a 52-percent 
increase.

Proposed Specifications

    The Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) met on 
July 19-20, 2017, to discuss the assessment update results and 
resulting OFL estimates, to identify an updated acceptable biological 
catch (ABC) level for 2018, and to project an ABC for the 2019 fishing 
year. To derive the ABC recommendations, the SSC applied the Council's 
standard risk policy for a species with a typical life history, which 
produces ABCs estimated to result in a 60-percent probability of not 
overfishing the stock. The process resulted in ABCs of 39.14 million lb 
(17,755 metric tons (mt)) for 2018 and 36.43 million lb (16,525 mt) for 
2019 (Table 1). The revised 2018 ABC is approximately 45 percent higher 
than the previously established 2018 ABC. Under the FMP, 22 percent of 
the ABC is allocated to the recreational fishery, while 78 percent is 
allocation to the commercial fishery.
    Following the SSC meeting, the Monitoring Committee met on July 24, 
2017, to discuss ACLs, ACTs, commercial quotas, and recreational 
harvest limits for the 2018 and 2019 fishing years. In light of the 
substantial increase in the ABC, the Monitoring Committee recommended a 
moderate increase for the fishery and suggested setting the 2018 
commercial ACT at 25.85 million lb (11,725 mt) and the recreational ACT 
at 7.29 million lb (3,307 mt). These recommended ACTs were 15 percent 
lower than those formulaically resulting from the SSC's ABC 
recommendation, but 22.5 percent higher than what is currently in place 
for 2018. The Monitoring Committee also recommended setting the 2019 
ACTs at the same level as the 2018 ACTs. The Monitoring Committee 
decided that there was enough management uncertainty around the 
upcoming adjustments to the commercial quota periods in 2018 and the 
outcome of the upcoming recreational harvest estimate revisions through 
the Marine Recreational Information Program to warrant the inclusion of 
a buffer between the ACLs and ACTs, which would provide for more 
stability in the fishery by using constant ACTs for both years.
    The Council and Commission's Scup Management Board meet jointly on 
August 8, 2017, to review the SSC's and Monitoring Committee's 
recommendations. They found merit in the idea of offering stability in 
the fishery by allowing for a buffer between the ACLs and ACTs, but did 
not accept the Monitoring Committee's specific recommendations. 
Instead, the Council and Commission recommended constant sector-
specific ACTs across 2018 and 2019, based on the 2019 ABC and setting 
the ACLs for 2019 equal to the ACTs (i.e., 8.01 million lb (3,636 mt) 
for the recreational fishery and 23.98 million lb (10,879 mt) for the 
commercial fishery).
    After removing the sector-specific estimated discards from the 
ACTs, the scup commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits would 
be those shown in Table 1. These values are approximately 40 percent 
higher than the current 2018 commercial quota and recreational harvest 
limit. The Monitoring Committee did not recommend any changes to the 
current commercial measures, including the 9-inch (22.9-cm) minimum 
fish size, the mesh size requirements and seasonal possession limit 
thresholds, and the pot/trap gear requirements.
    The Council will revisit its decision on the projected 2019 
specifications following the SSC's review next summer. By providing 
projected specifications for 2019, NMFS hopes to assist fishery 
participants in planning

[[Page 51596]]

ahead. Final 2019 specifications will be published in the Federal 
Register before the start of the 2019 fishing year (January 1, 2019) 
based on the Council's review.

                                    Table 1--Council-Recommended Scup Specifications for 2018 and Projected for 2019
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                Scup specifications
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  2018 (current)                  2018 (revised)                 2019 (projected)
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            million lb          mt          million lb          mt          million lb          mt
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OFL.....................................................           29.68          13,462           45.05          20,433           41.03          18,612
ABC.....................................................           27.05          12,270           39.14          17,755           36.43          16,525
Commercial ACL..........................................           21.10           9,571           30.53          13,849           28.42          12,890
Commercial ACT..........................................           21.10           9,571           28.42          12,890           28.42          12,890
Commercial Discards.....................................            3.76           1,705            4.43           2,011            4.43           2,011
Commercial Quota........................................           17.34           7,866           23.98          10,879           23.98          10,879
Recreational ACL........................................            5.95           2,699            8.61           3,906            8.01           3,636
Recreational ACT........................................            5.95           2,699            8.01           3,636            8.01           3,636
Recreational Discards...................................            0.75             338            0.65             293            0.65             293
Recreational Harvest Limit..............................            5.21           2,361            7.37           3,342            7.37           3,342
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass FMP, 
other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, 
subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This action is exempt from review under E.O. 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council conducted an evaluation of 
the potential socioeconomic impacts of the proposed measures in 
conjunction with an EA. According to the commercial ownership database, 
517 affiliate firms landed scup during the 2014-2016 period, with 513 
of those business affiliates categorized as small businesses and 4 
categorized as large businesses. Scup represented approximately 3.94 
percent of the average receipts of the small entities considered and 
0.11 percent of the average receipts of the large entities considered 
over this time period.
    The ownership data for the for-hire fleet indicate that there were 
359 for-hire affiliate firms generating revenues from fishing 
recreationally for various species during the 2014-2016 period, all of 
which are categorized as small businesses. Although it is not possible 
to derive what proportion of the overall revenues came from specific 
fishing activities, given the popularity of scup as a recreational 
species it is likely that revenues generated from scup are important 
for some, if not all, of these firms.
    The proposed measure would increase both the 2018 commercial quota 
and the 2018 recreational harvest limit by around 40 percent. However, 
the scup fishery is a market-limited fishery (i.e., market conditions 
are typically the limiting factor, not allowable landings) and it is 
expected that, unless market conditions change drastically, commercial 
and recreational landings will likely be similar to current landings. 
As a result, this action is not expected to adversely impact revenues 
for vessels that fish for scup commercially. The increase in the 
recreational harvest limit does not directly impact the party/charter 
fishery. Future regulatory action may be needed to adjust current scup 
recreational management measures (i.e., bag limits, seasons, and 
minimum sizes), and consideration of the impact of those potential 
future measures on small entities engaged in the for-hire fishery will 
be evaluated at that time, should such a regulatory action become 
necessary. Because this rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities, an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.
    There are no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements contained 
in any of the alternatives considered for this action.

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

    Dated: November 2, 2017.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-24205 Filed 11-6-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P