Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; Re-Opening of the Recreational Sector for Red Snapper, 56178-56179 [2017-25645]

Download as PDF 56178 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Rules and Regulations currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: http:// www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/ prasubs.html Regulatory Flexibility Act Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis was not required and none was prepared. Dated: November 21, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300 is amended as follows: PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS Subpart C—Eastern Pacific Tuna Fisheries 1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart C, continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq. 2. In § 300.21, add a definition for ‘‘Shark line’’ in alphabetical order to read as follows: ■ Definitions. jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES * * * * * Shark line means a type of fishing gear used to target sharks and consisting of an individual hooked line or hooked lines attached to the floatline or directly to the floats of longline gear and deployed in the water column at depths shallower than the mainline. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 300.24, revise paragraphs (w), (x), (cc), and (dd), and add paragraphs (ii) and (jj) to read as follows: § 300.24 Prohibitions. * * * * * (w) Set or attempt to set a purse seine on or around a whale shark (Rhincodon typus) in contravention of § 300.27(g). VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:23 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 § 300.27 Incidental catch and tuna retention requirements. * List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300 Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, International organizations, Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties. § 300.21 (x) Fail to release a whale shark encircled in a purse seine net of a fishing vessel as required in § 300.27(h). * * * * * (cc) To retain on board, transship, store, land, sell, or offer for sale any part or whole carcass of a mobulid ray, as described in § 300.27(i). (dd) Fail to handle or release a mobulid ray as required in § 300.27(j). * * * * * (ii) Fail to handle or release a shark as required in § 300.27(k). (jj) Use a shark line in contravention of § 300.27(l). ■ 4. In § 300.27, revise paragraphs (b) and (h), and add paragraphs (k) and (l) to read as follows: * * * * (b) Release requirements for non-tuna species on purse seine vessels. All purse seine vessels must release all billfish, ray (not including mobulid rays, which are subject to paragraph (i) of this section), dorado (Coryphaena hippurus), and other non-tuna fish species, except those being retained for consumption aboard the vessel, as soon as practicable after being identified on board the vessel during the brailing operation. Sharks caught in the IATTC Convention Area and that are not retained for consumption aboard the vessel must be released according to the requirements in paragraph (k) of this section. * * * * * (h) Whale shark release. The crew, operator, and owner of a fishing vessel of the United States commercially fishing for tuna in the Convention Area must release as soon as possible, any whale shark that is encircled in a purse seine net, and must ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure its safe release. No whale shark may be towed out of a purse seine net (e.g., using towing ropes). * * * * * (k) Shark handling and release requirements for purse seine vessels. The crew, operator, and owner of a U.S. commercial purse seine fishing vessel must promptly release unharmed, to the extent practicable, any shark (whether live or dead) caught in the IATTC Convention Area, as soon as it is seen in the net or on the deck, without compromising the safety of any persons. If a shark is live when caught, the crew, operator, or owner must follow release procedures in the following two paragraphs. (1) Sharks must be released out of the purse seine net by directly releasing the shark from the brailer into the ocean. PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Sharks that cannot be released without compromising the safety of persons or the sharks before being landed on deck must be returned to the water as soon as possible, either utilizing a ramp from the deck connecting to an opening on the side of the boat, or through escape hatches. If ramps or escape hatches are not available, the sharks must be lowered with a sling or cargo net, using a crane or similar equipment, if available. (2) No shark may be gaffed or hooked, lifted by the head, tail, gill slits or spiracles, or lifted by using bind wire against or inserted through the body, and no holes may be punched through the bodies of sharks (e.g., to pass a cable through for lifting the shark). (l) Shark line prohibition for longline vessels. Any U.S. longline vessel used to fish for tuna or swordfish is prohibited from using any shark line in the IATTC Convention Area. [FR Doc. 2017–25617 Filed 11–27–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 170803719–7719–01] RIN 0648–XF848 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; SnapperGrouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; Re-Opening of the Recreational Sector for Red Snapper National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; re-opening. AGENCY: NMFS announces the reopening of the recreational sector for red snapper in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic through this temporary rule. The most recent preliminary recreational harvest information for red snapper indicate the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for the limited 2017 fishing season has not yet been reached. Therefore, NMFS reopens the recreational sector for red snapper in the South Atlantic EEZ for 3 days (see DATES) to allow the recreational ACL to be caught, while minimizing the risk of the recreational ACL being exceeded. DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, December 8, 2017, and closes SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28NOR1.SGM 28NOR1 jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 28, 2017 / Rules and Regulations at 12:01 a.m., local time, on December 11, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nikhil Mehta, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727–824–5305, email: nikhil.mehta@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic includes red snapper and is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the SnapperGrouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622. On November 2, 2017, NMFS published a temporary rule through emergency action for South Atlantic red snapper in the 2017 fishing year (82 FR 50839). The temporary rule authorized the limited harvest and possession of red snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ in the 2017 fishing year. The 2017 commercial ACL was set at 124,815 lb (56,615 kg), round weight, and the 2017 recreational ACL was set at 29,656 fish. The recreational season was open for two consecutive weekends made up of Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The recreational season opened for the weekends of November 3 through 5, 2017, and November 10 through 12, 2017. The temporary rule additionally set a 1 fish per person recreational bag limit. No size limits were implemented for either sector through the temporary rule in an effort to decrease regulatory discards. The temporary rule also set a daily commercial trip limit 75 lb (34 kg), gutted weight. The intended effect of the temporary rule through emergency action is to reduce, to the extent practicable, existing adverse socioeconomic impacts to fishermen and fishing communities that utilize the red snapper portion of the snapper-grouper fishery, without allowing overfishing or preventing the stock from rebuilding. Additionally, limited commercial and recreational harvest of red snapper in 2017 provides an opportunity to collect fishery-dependent data that will be useful for future red snapper stock assessments and management decisions. During the limited harvest season in 2017, the South Atlantic states and NMFS collected harvest information through fishing effort and dockside surveys, survey of private anglers and charter and headboat captains, and voluntary donations of fish carcasses from recreational anglers. NMFS notes VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:23 Nov 27, 2017 Jkt 244001 that the majority of recreational harvest of red snapper occurs off Florida and the majority of the sector landings are attributable to private anglers. NMFS is required to close the recreational sector for red snapper when the recreational ACL specified at 50 CFR 622.193(aa)(2) is reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS previously projected and announced in the Federal Register that the recreational ACL for South Atlantic red snapper for the 2017 limited fishing season would be reached by the end of the second recreational open weekend at 12:01 a.m., local time, on November 13, 2017 (82 FR 50839, November 2, 2017). However, preliminary recreational harvest information indicates that the recreational ACL for red snapper was not met as of that date. Based on these preliminary data, NMFS has projected that the recreational sector may reopen for additional 3 days, which is not expected to result in harvest exceeding the 2017 recreational sector ACL. Therefore, in accordance with 50 CFR 622.8(c), NMFS temporarily re-opens the recreational sector for 3 days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) beginning at 12:01 a.m., local time, December 8, 2017, to allow the recreational sector to have the opportunity to harvest the red snapper ACL. The recreational sector will close 3 days later, at 12:01 a.m., local time, December 11, 2017, and will remain closed in accordance with the effectiveness of the implemented emergency measures (82 FR 50839, November 2, 2017). NMFS has determined that this re-opening will allow for an additional opportunity to recreationally harvest red snapper while minimizing the risk of exceeding the recreational ACL. NMFS notes that the commercial harvest of red snapper that was authorized through the temporary rule implementing emergency measures is currently open through December 31, 2017, unless the commercial ACL is projected to be reached prior to that date. Once the recreational sector closes, the bag and possession limits are zero for red snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ. Additionally, these bag and possession limits apply to the harvest of red snapper in both state and Federal waters in the South Atlantic on board a vessel with a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snappergrouper. PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 56179 Classification The Regional Administrator, NMFS Southeast Region, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of red snapper and the South Atlantic snappergrouper fishery and is consistent with the temporary rule implementing emergency measures, the MagnusonStevens Act and other applicable laws. This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.8(c) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued without opportunity for prior notice and comment. This action responds to the best scientific information available. The Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries (AA) finds that the need to immediately implement this action to temporarily re-open the recreational sector for red snapper constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), as such procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary because the conditions and justification for temporary rule implementing the recreational ACL in 2017 are still in effect, and all that remains is to notify the public of the re-opening. Such procedures are contrary to the public interest because of the need to immediately implement this action to allow recreational fishers to harvest the recreational ACL of red snapper from the EEZ, while minimizing the risk of exceeding the recreational ACL. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment would be contrary to the public interest because it would not allow for harvest of the recreational ACL before the end of the fishing season. For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 22, 2017. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–25645 Filed 11–22–17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\28NOR1.SGM 28NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 227 (Tuesday, November 28, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 56178-56179]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-25645]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 170803719-7719-01]
RIN 0648-XF848


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic; Re-Opening of the 
Recreational Sector for Red Snapper

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; re-opening.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces the re-opening of the recreational sector for 
red snapper in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic 
through this temporary rule. The most recent preliminary recreational 
harvest information for red snapper indicate the recreational annual 
catch limit (ACL) for the limited 2017 fishing season has not yet been 
reached. Therefore, NMFS re-opens the recreational sector for red 
snapper in the South Atlantic EEZ for 3 days (see DATES) to allow the 
recreational ACL to be caught, while minimizing the risk of the 
recreational ACL being exceeded.

DATES: This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, December 8, 2017, 
and closes

[[Page 56179]]

at 12:01 a.m., local time, on December 11, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nikhil Mehta, NMFS Southeast Regional 
Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: nikhil.mehta@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery of the South 
Atlantic includes red snapper and is managed under the Fishery 
Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic 
Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.
    On November 2, 2017, NMFS published a temporary rule through 
emergency action for South Atlantic red snapper in the 2017 fishing 
year (82 FR 50839). The temporary rule authorized the limited harvest 
and possession of red snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ in the 
2017 fishing year. The 2017 commercial ACL was set at 124,815 lb 
(56,615 kg), round weight, and the 2017 recreational ACL was set at 
29,656 fish. The recreational season was open for two consecutive 
weekends made up of Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The recreational 
season opened for the weekends of November 3 through 5, 2017, and 
November 10 through 12, 2017. The temporary rule additionally set a 1 
fish per person recreational bag limit. No size limits were implemented 
for either sector through the temporary rule in an effort to decrease 
regulatory discards. The temporary rule also set a daily commercial 
trip limit 75 lb (34 kg), gutted weight. The intended effect of the 
temporary rule through emergency action is to reduce, to the extent 
practicable, existing adverse socio-economic impacts to fishermen and 
fishing communities that utilize the red snapper portion of the 
snapper-grouper fishery, without allowing overfishing or preventing the 
stock from rebuilding. Additionally, limited commercial and 
recreational harvest of red snapper in 2017 provides an opportunity to 
collect fishery-dependent data that will be useful for future red 
snapper stock assessments and management decisions.
    During the limited harvest season in 2017, the South Atlantic 
states and NMFS collected harvest information through fishing effort 
and dockside surveys, survey of private anglers and charter and 
headboat captains, and voluntary donations of fish carcasses from 
recreational anglers. NMFS notes that the majority of recreational 
harvest of red snapper occurs off Florida and the majority of the 
sector landings are attributable to private anglers.
    NMFS is required to close the recreational sector for red snapper 
when the recreational ACL specified at 50 CFR 622.193(aa)(2) is 
reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification to 
that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS previously 
projected and announced in the Federal Register that the recreational 
ACL for South Atlantic red snapper for the 2017 limited fishing season 
would be reached by the end of the second recreational open weekend at 
12:01 a.m., local time, on November 13, 2017 (82 FR 50839, November 2, 
2017). However, preliminary recreational harvest information indicates 
that the recreational ACL for red snapper was not met as of that date. 
Based on these preliminary data, NMFS has projected that the 
recreational sector may reopen for additional 3 days, which is not 
expected to result in harvest exceeding the 2017 recreational sector 
ACL.
    Therefore, in accordance with 50 CFR 622.8(c), NMFS temporarily re-
opens the recreational sector for 3 days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) 
beginning at 12:01 a.m., local time, December 8, 2017, to allow the 
recreational sector to have the opportunity to harvest the red snapper 
ACL. The recreational sector will close 3 days later, at 12:01 a.m., 
local time, December 11, 2017, and will remain closed in accordance 
with the effectiveness of the implemented emergency measures (82 FR 
50839, November 2, 2017). NMFS has determined that this re-opening will 
allow for an additional opportunity to recreationally harvest red 
snapper while minimizing the risk of exceeding the recreational ACL. 
NMFS notes that the commercial harvest of red snapper that was 
authorized through the temporary rule implementing emergency measures 
is currently open through December 31, 2017, unless the commercial ACL 
is projected to be reached prior to that date.
    Once the recreational sector closes, the bag and possession limits 
are zero for red snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ. 
Additionally, these bag and possession limits apply to the harvest of 
red snapper in both state and Federal waters in the South Atlantic on 
board a vessel with a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/
headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, NMFS Southeast Region, has determined 
this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of 
red snapper and the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery and is 
consistent with the temporary rule implementing emergency measures, the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.8(c) and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued without 
opportunity for prior notice and comment.
    This action responds to the best scientific information available. 
The Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries (AA) finds that the need 
to immediately implement this action to temporarily re-open the 
recreational sector for red snapper constitutes good cause to waive the 
requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment 
pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), as such 
procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such 
procedures are unnecessary because the conditions and justification for 
temporary rule implementing the recreational ACL in 2017 are still in 
effect, and all that remains is to notify the public of the re-opening. 
Such procedures are contrary to the public interest because of the need 
to immediately implement this action to allow recreational fishers to 
harvest the recreational ACL of red snapper from the EEZ, while 
minimizing the risk of exceeding the recreational ACL. Prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment would be contrary to the public interest 
because it would not allow for harvest of the recreational ACL before 
the end of the fishing season.
    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 
U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

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

    Dated: November 22, 2017.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-25645 Filed 11-22-17; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P