Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 57885 [2017-26492]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 235 / Friday, December 8, 2017 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150121066–5717–02] RIN 0648–XF868 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure of the General category fishery. AGENCY: NMFS closes the General category fishery for large medium and giant (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater) Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) for the December subquota time period and thus for the remainder of 2017. The intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the available December subquota of 12.7 mt and the adjusted 2017 General category quota of 688.7 metric tons (mt). DATES: Effective 11:30 p.m., local time, December 6, 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) 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) and amendments. NMFS is required, under § 635.28(a)(1), to file a closure notice with the Office of the Federal Register for publication when a BFT quota (or subquota) is reached or is projected to be reached. On and after the effective sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Dec 07, 2017 Jkt 244001 date and time of such notification, for the remainder of the fishing year or for a specified period as indicated in the notification, retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that quota category is prohibited until the opening of the subsequent quota period or until such date as specified in the notice. The base quota for the General category is 466.7 mt. See § 635.27(a). To date this year, NMFS has adjusted the General category base quota for 2017 three times, including a transfer of 40 mt from the Reserve category effective March 2 (82 FR 12747, March 7, 2017), a transfer of 156.4 mt from the Reserve category effective September 28 (82 FR 46000, October 3, 2017), and a transfer of 25.6 mt from the Harpoon category effective December 1 (82 FR 55520, November 22, 2017). The third transfer resulted in an adjusted General category December subquota of 12.7 mt and an adjusted 2017 General category quota of 688.7 mt. Based on the best available landings information for the General category BFT fishery, NMFS has determined that the available December subquota of 12.7 mt has been reached, as has the overall adjusted General category quota of 688.7 mt. Therefore, retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General and HMS Charter/Headboat categories must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on December 6, 2017. The General category will reopen automatically on January 1, 2018, for the January through March 2018 subperiod. This action applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels and is taken consistent with the regulations at § 635.28(a)(1). The intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the available 2017 General category quota. Fishermen may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-andrelease and tag-and-release programs at § 635.26. All BFT that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at § 635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the ‘‘Careful Catch and Release’’ brochure available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/ hms/. PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 57885 Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries 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 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. 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 and fishery closures 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. These fisheries are currently underway and delaying this action would be contrary to the public interest as it could result in excessive BFT landings that may result in future potential quota reductions for the General category. NMFS must close the General category fishery for 2017 to prevent overharvest of the available quota. 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 all of the above reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.28(a)(1) (BFT Fishery Closures), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: December 5, 2017. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–26492 Filed 12–5–17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\08DER1.SGM 08DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 235 (Friday, December 8, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 57885]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-26492]



[[Page 57885]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 150121066-5717-02]
RIN 0648-XF868


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure of the General category fishery.

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SUMMARY: NMFS closes the General category fishery for large medium and 
giant (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater) 
Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) for the December subquota time period and 
thus for the remainder of 2017. The intent of this closure is to 
prevent overharvest of the available December subquota of 12.7 mt and 
the adjusted 2017 General category quota of 688.7 metric tons (mt).

DATES: Effective 11:30 p.m., local time, December 6, 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) 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) and amendments.
    NMFS is required, under Sec.  635.28(a)(1), to file a closure 
notice with the Office of the Federal Register for publication when a 
BFT quota (or subquota) is reached or is projected to be reached. On 
and after the effective date and time of such notification, for the 
remainder of the fishing year or for a specified period as indicated in 
the notification, retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that 
quota category is prohibited until the opening of the subsequent quota 
period or until such date as specified in the notice.
    The base quota for the General category is 466.7 mt. See Sec.  
635.27(a). To date this year, NMFS has adjusted the General category 
base quota for 2017 three times, including a transfer of 40 mt from the 
Reserve category effective March 2 (82 FR 12747, March 7, 2017), a 
transfer of 156.4 mt from the Reserve category effective September 28 
(82 FR 46000, October 3, 2017), and a transfer of 25.6 mt from the 
Harpoon category effective December 1 (82 FR 55520, November 22, 2017). 
The third transfer resulted in an adjusted General category December 
subquota of 12.7 mt and an adjusted 2017 General category quota of 
688.7 mt.
    Based on the best available landings information for the General 
category BFT fishery, NMFS has determined that the available December 
subquota of 12.7 mt has been reached, as has the overall adjusted 
General category quota of 688.7 mt. Therefore, retaining, possessing, 
or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard vessels 
permitted in the Atlantic tunas General and HMS Charter/Headboat 
categories must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on December 6, 2017. The 
General category will reopen automatically on January 1, 2018, for the 
January through March 2018 subperiod. This action applies to Atlantic 
tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and Highly 
Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels and 
is taken consistent with the regulations at Sec.  635.28(a)(1). The 
intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the available 2017 
General category quota.
    Fishermen may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all 
sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-
and-release programs at Sec.  635.26. All BFT that are released must be 
handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without 
removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at Sec.  
635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the 
``Careful Catch and Release'' brochure available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries 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 
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.

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 and fishery 
closures 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. These fisheries are currently 
underway and delaying this action would be contrary to the public 
interest as it could result in excessive BFT landings that may result 
in future potential quota reductions for the General category. NMFS 
must close the General category fishery for 2017 to prevent overharvest 
of the available quota. 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 all of the above reasons, there 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.  635.28(a)(1) (BFT Fishery 
Closures), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: December 5, 2017.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-26492 Filed 12-5-17; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P