Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; American Lobster Fishery; Control Date for Lobster Conservation Management Areas, 52871-52872 [2017-24714]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Proposed Rules § 25.146 [Amended] 2. In § 25.146, remove paragraph (b) and redesignate paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) as paragraphs (b), (c), and (d). ■ 3. In § 25.217 revise paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows: ■ § 25.217 Default service rules. * * * * * (b)(1) For all NGSO-like satellite licenses for which the application was filed pursuant to the procedures set forth in § 25.157 after August 27, 2003, authorizing operations in a frequency band for which the Commission has not adopted frequency band-specific service rules at the time the license is granted, the licensee will be required to comply with the following technical requirements, notwithstanding the frequency bands specified in these rule provisions: §§ 25.143(b)(2)(ii) (except NGSO FSS systems), (iii) (except NGSO FSS systems), 25.204(e), 25.210(f), (i). * * * * * [FR Doc. 2017–24726 Filed 11–14–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 697 [Docket No. 150401332–7999–01] RIN 0648–BF01 Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; American Lobster Fishery; Control Date for Lobster Conservation Management Areas National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR); request for comments. AGENCY: This document announces that NMFS is considering changes to the lobster management program and may select a control date to restrict the number of permits or traps an individual or business entity may own, with specific emphasis on Lobster Conservation Management Areas (LCMAs) 2 and 3. NMFS may use the existing control date of January 27, 2014, which was published in the Federal Register, the publication date of this present ANPR, or another date for this purpose, pending public comment and further input by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 (Commission). This action may be necessary to control effort in the American lobster fishery and mitigate impacts on the depleted Southern New England (SNE) lobster stock. NMFS intends for this document to promote awareness of possible rulemaking and notify the public that actions taken to acquire lobster trap allocation and permits after the control date may not be recognized in the future. DATES: We must receive written comments on or before December 15, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2013–0169 by any of the following methods: D Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D= NOAA-NMFS-2013-0169, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. D Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on Lobster Control Date.’’ Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. We 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.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). We accept attachments to electronic comments only in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Burns, Fishery Policy Analyst, 978–281–9144. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background NMFS works cooperatively with the states to conserve the American lobster resource within the framework of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 52871 Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobster (ISFMP). Through the ISFMP, the Commission adopts fishery conservation and management strategies for the American lobster resource and coordinates the efforts of the states and NMFS to implement these strategies. The Commission, NMFS, and the affected states have worked to develop a strategy to address the declining SNE stock and control effort in the American lobster fishery. That strategy, which took shape in several addenda to Amendment 3 of the Commission’s ISFMP, attempted to achieve this goal while maintaining the historic character of the lobster fishery, which has traditionally been comprised of small owner-operator businesses. As the Commission’s ISFMP limited access to the fishery, the Commission was concerned that lobster permits might consolidate among a concentrated number of larger conglomerates. As a result, the Commission’s ISFMP introduced the concept of permit restrictions in 2003 in Addendum IV and again in 2005 in Addendum VII. These two addenda contemplated limiting the aggregate number of permits an individual or entity may own in LCMAs 2 and 3. Concern about fishery consolidation and conglomeration intensified with the advent of the Commission’s Trap Transfer Program in 2014. The Trap Transfer Program allows lobster fishermen to buy or sell partial trap allocations up to, but not exceeding, any applicable LCMA trap cap. Attrition in the fishery from the SNE stock decline resulted in a relatively high amount of latent trap effort in the SNE LCMAs. The Commission became concerned that businesses could cheaply purchase and combine latent permits and then activate them by transferring the trap allocation onto the permit or by activating traps that were already associated with a permit under the trap banking provisions of Addendum XVIII. Accordingly, the Commission revisited permit and effort restriction strategies in Addendum XXI in August 2013 and Addendum XXII in October 2013. These addenda limit the number of traps that any one individual or entity may own in LCMAs 2 and 3 and are the focus of this rulemaking action. Under these addenda, permit holders may also purchase traps in excess of the active permit cap and ‘‘bank’’ them. The banked allocation may be used in the future to offset the economic impacts associated with a multi-year schedule of annual trap reductions in LCMAs 2 and 3 that were adopted in Addendum XVIII E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1 52872 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 219 / Wednesday, November 15, 2017 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS to address the continued decline in the SNE lobster stock. In response to the Commission’s recommendations for Federal action in Addenda XXI and XXII, NMFS notified the public that we were considering establishing a control date for the purposes of determining the number of traps or permits an individual or entity may hold in LCMAs 2 and 3. The notification, an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (79 FR 4319; January 27, 2014), announced that NMFS could use that publication date, January 27, 2014, or another date for such purpose and that it was developing a rulemaking action to consider the measures set forth in Addenda XXI and XXII. Subsequently, the Commission announced the results of the 2015 American Lobster Stock Assessment that found the SNE lobster stock was severely depleted, with record low abundance and recruitment failure, due to changing environmental conditions and continued fishing mortality. The Commission then focused its efforts on a new addendum to the ISFMP, Addendum XXV, to address the deteriorating condition of the SNE stock. NMFS deferred action on Addenda XXI and XXII while the Commission developed draft Addendum XXV during 2016 and 2017, because elements of Addendum XXV could have rendered the measures in the prior addenda unnecessary. In August 2017, the Commission decided to take no further action on Addendum XXV and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:22 Nov 14, 2017 Jkt 244001 requested that we advance the measures in Addenda XXI and XXII for Federal rulemaking. In response, we stet this advance notice of proposed rulemaking to reconsider the use of a control date in consideration of the measures in the two addenda. This document informs the public that NMFS may select January 27, 2014, or another date, as the control date, depending on public comments and input from the Commission. It also gives the public notice that interested participants should locate and preserve records that substantiate and verify their participation in the American lobster fishery. Participation in the fishery after the control date may not be treated the same as participation before the control date. Establishing a control date does not commit NMFS to develop any particular management regime or criteria for participation in these fisheries. Additionally, we may also choose to take no further action to control effort or consolidation in the American lobster fishery. NMFS is seeking specific comments on the appropriateness of using the existing January 27, 2014, control date. The public may also comment on whether another date is better suited as a control date for the lobster fishery. NMFS is also considering several clarifications to existing regulations: • Due to enforcement concerns, we are considering modifications to the gear marking requirement for lobster trap trawls with more than three traps to be more consistent with industry practices; PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 • The Trap Transfer Program currently requires that trap transfers occur in increments of 10. We intend to remove this restriction to allow permit holders to transfer traps in any increment up to the permit cap for the fishing year to allow permit holders to take full advantage of the program; • NMFS is also considering adding a provision to allow a substitute vessel to haul and fish the traps of a federallypermitted lobster vessel that is inoperable or mechanically impaired. The intent is to allow a Federal permit holder to maintain his or her revenue from lobster fishing while the vessel is repaired or replaced. Currently, the regulations only allow a substitute vessel to bring the trap gear ashore; however, some states already permit the use of a substitute vessel to haul and fish traps under specific circumstances. Any future action taken by NMFS will be pursuant to the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. This notification and control date do not impose any legal obligations, requirements, or expectation. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5101 et seq. Dated: November 8, 2017. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–24714 Filed 11–14–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\15NOP1.SGM 15NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 219 (Wednesday, November 15, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 52871-52872]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-24714]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 697

[Docket No. 150401332-7999-01]
RIN 0648-BF01


Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act Provisions; 
American Lobster Fishery; Control Date for Lobster Conservation 
Management Areas

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

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR); request for 
comments.

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SUMMARY: This document announces that NMFS is considering changes to 
the lobster management program and may select a control date to 
restrict the number of permits or traps an individual or business 
entity may own, with specific emphasis on Lobster Conservation 
Management Areas (LCMAs) 2 and 3. NMFS may use the existing control 
date of January 27, 2014, which was published in the Federal Register, 
the publication date of this present ANPR, or another date for this 
purpose, pending public comment and further input by the Atlantic 
States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission). This action may be 
necessary to control effort in the American lobster fishery and 
mitigate impacts on the depleted Southern New England (SNE) lobster 
stock. NMFS intends for this document to promote awareness of possible 
rulemaking and notify the public that actions taken to acquire lobster 
trap allocation and permits after the control date may not be 
recognized in the future.

DATES: We must receive written comments on or before December 15, 2017.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by
    NOAA-NMFS-2013-0169 by any of the following methods:
    [ssquf] Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0169, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
    [ssquf] Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional 
Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic 
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, 
``Comments on Lobster Control Date.''
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 
considered by NMFS. We 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.) submitted voluntarily by the 
sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous). We accept attachments to electronic comments 
only in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Burns, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
978-281-9144.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    NMFS works cooperatively with the states to conserve the American 
lobster resource within the framework of the Atlantic States Marine 
Fisheries Commission's Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American 
Lobster (ISFMP). Through the ISFMP, the Commission adopts fishery 
conservation and management strategies for the American lobster 
resource and coordinates the efforts of the states and NMFS to 
implement these strategies.
    The Commission, NMFS, and the affected states have worked to 
develop a strategy to address the declining SNE stock and control 
effort in the American lobster fishery. That strategy, which took shape 
in several addenda to Amendment 3 of the Commission's ISFMP, attempted 
to achieve this goal while maintaining the historic character of the 
lobster fishery, which has traditionally been comprised of small owner-
operator businesses. As the Commission's ISFMP limited access to the 
fishery, the Commission was concerned that lobster permits might 
consolidate among a concentrated number of larger conglomerates. As a 
result, the Commission's ISFMP introduced the concept of permit 
restrictions in 2003 in Addendum IV and again in 2005 in Addendum VII. 
These two addenda contemplated limiting the aggregate number of permits 
an individual or entity may own in LCMAs 2 and 3.
    Concern about fishery consolidation and conglomeration intensified 
with the advent of the Commission's Trap Transfer Program in 2014. The 
Trap Transfer Program allows lobster fishermen to buy or sell partial 
trap allocations up to, but not exceeding, any applicable LCMA trap 
cap. Attrition in the fishery from the SNE stock decline resulted in a 
relatively high amount of latent trap effort in the SNE LCMAs. The 
Commission became concerned that businesses could cheaply purchase and 
combine latent permits and then activate them by transferring the trap 
allocation onto the permit or by activating traps that were already 
associated with a permit under the trap banking provisions of Addendum 
XVIII. Accordingly, the Commission revisited permit and effort 
restriction strategies in Addendum XXI in August 2013 and Addendum XXII 
in October 2013. These addenda limit the number of traps that any one 
individual or entity may own in LCMAs 2 and 3 and are the focus of this 
rulemaking action. Under these addenda, permit holders may also 
purchase traps in excess of the active permit cap and ``bank'' them. 
The banked allocation may be used in the future to offset the economic 
impacts associated with a multi-year schedule of annual trap reductions 
in LCMAs 2 and 3 that were adopted in Addendum XVIII

[[Page 52872]]

to address the continued decline in the SNE lobster stock.
    In response to the Commission's recommendations for Federal action 
in Addenda XXI and XXII, NMFS notified the public that we were 
considering establishing a control date for the purposes of determining 
the number of traps or permits an individual or entity may hold in 
LCMAs 2 and 3. The notification, an advance notice of proposed 
rulemaking (79 FR 4319; January 27, 2014), announced that NMFS could 
use that publication date, January 27, 2014, or another date for such 
purpose and that it was developing a rulemaking action to consider the 
measures set forth in Addenda XXI and XXII.
    Subsequently, the Commission announced the results of the 2015 
American Lobster Stock Assessment that found the SNE lobster stock was 
severely depleted, with record low abundance and recruitment failure, 
due to changing environmental conditions and continued fishing 
mortality. The Commission then focused its efforts on a new addendum to 
the ISFMP, Addendum XXV, to address the deteriorating condition of the 
SNE stock.
    NMFS deferred action on Addenda XXI and XXII while the Commission 
developed draft Addendum XXV during 2016 and 2017, because elements of 
Addendum XXV could have rendered the measures in the prior addenda 
unnecessary. In August 2017, the Commission decided to take no further 
action on Addendum XXV and requested that we advance the measures in 
Addenda XXI and XXII for Federal rulemaking. In response, we stet this 
advance notice of proposed rulemaking to reconsider the use of a 
control date in consideration of the measures in the two addenda.
    This document informs the public that NMFS may select January 27, 
2014, or another date, as the control date, depending on public 
comments and input from the Commission. It also gives the public notice 
that interested participants should locate and preserve records that 
substantiate and verify their participation in the American lobster 
fishery. Participation in the fishery after the control date may not be 
treated the same as participation before the control date. Establishing 
a control date does not commit NMFS to develop any particular 
management regime or criteria for participation in these fisheries. 
Additionally, we may also choose to take no further action to control 
effort or consolidation in the American lobster fishery. NMFS is 
seeking specific comments on the appropriateness of using the existing 
January 27, 2014, control date. The public may also comment on whether 
another date is better suited as a control date for the lobster 
fishery.
    NMFS is also considering several clarifications to existing 
regulations:
     Due to enforcement concerns, we are considering 
modifications to the gear marking requirement for lobster trap trawls 
with more than three traps to be more consistent with industry 
practices;
     The Trap Transfer Program currently requires that trap 
transfers occur in increments of 10. We intend to remove this 
restriction to allow permit holders to transfer traps in any increment 
up to the permit cap for the fishing year to allow permit holders to 
take full advantage of the program;
     NMFS is also considering adding a provision to allow a 
substitute vessel to haul and fish the traps of a federally-permitted 
lobster vessel that is inoperable or mechanically impaired. The intent 
is to allow a Federal permit holder to maintain his or her revenue from 
lobster fishing while the vessel is repaired or replaced. Currently, 
the regulations only allow a substitute vessel to bring the trap gear 
ashore; however, some states already permit the use of a substitute 
vessel to haul and fish traps under specific circumstances.
    Any future action taken by NMFS will be pursuant to the Atlantic 
Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act and the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
    This notification and control date do not impose any legal 
obligations, requirements, or expectation.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.

    Dated: November 8, 2017.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-24714 Filed 11-14-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P