Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 52169-52170 [2018-22499]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 200 / Tuesday, October 16, 2018 / Rules and Regulations * * * * * [FR Doc. 2018–22170 Filed 10–15–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 180117042–8884–02] RIN 0648–XG551 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; General category October–November fishery for 2018; fishery reopening. AGENCY: NMFS has determined that a reopening of the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General category fishery is warranted. This action is intended to provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the full annual U.S. bluefin tuna quota without exceeding it, while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities across time periods; help achieve optimum yield in the bluefin tuna fishery; and optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full bluefin tuna quota allocations. This action applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT. DATES: Effective 12:30 a.m., local time, October 15, 2018, through 11:30 p.m., local time, October 16, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978–281–9260. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and as implemented by the United States among the various domestic amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Oct 15, 2018 Jkt 247001 fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended by Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014). NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota. NMFS recently published a final rule (i.e., the ‘‘quota rule’’ (83 FR 51391, October 11, 2018)) that increased the baseline U.S. bluefin tuna quota from 1,058.79 mt to 1,247.86 mt and accordingly increased the subquotas for 2018, including an increase in the General category October through November period subquota from 60.7 mt to 70.2 mt, consistent with the annual bluefin tuna quota calculation process. On October 4, 2018, NMFS transferred 55 mt to the General category and closed the General category fishery effective October 5, 2018, based on projections that landings would meet or exceed the adjusted October through November subquota of 127.2 mt by that date (83 FR 50857, October 10, 2018). General Category Reopening As of October 11, 2018, reports show that the General category landed 81.8 mt before closing. This represents 64 percent of the adjusted October through November subquota of 127.2 mt. Based on early October landings rates, NMFS has determined that reopening the General category fishery for two days is appropriate given the amount of unused October through November subquota (i.e., 45.4 mt). Therefore, the General category fishery will reopen at 12:30 a.m., October 15, 2018, and close at 11:30 p.m., October 16, 2018. The General category daily retention limit during this reopening remains the same as prior to closing: one large medium or giant bluefin tuna per vessel per day/trip. This action applies to those vessels permitted in the General category, as well as to those HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT. Retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard vessels permitted in the General and HMS Charter/Headboat categories must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on October 16, 2018. The General category will reopen automatically on December 1, 2018, for the December 2018 subquota period at the default one-fish level. In December PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 52169 2017, NMFS adjusted the General category base subquota for the December 2018 period to 10 mt (82 FR 60680, December 22, 2017), although this amount increased to 14.6 mt with finalization of the quota rule. Based on quota availability in the Reserve, NMFS may consider transferring additional quota to the December subquota period, as appropriate. 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/. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS’ ability to timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872–8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional adjustments are necessary to ensure available subquotas are not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281–9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. 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: E:\FR\FM\16OCR1.SGM 16OCR1 52170 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 200 / Tuesday, October 16, 2018 / Rules and Regulations amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason actions to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement the fishery reopening is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The General category recently closed, but based on available BFT quotas, fishery performance in recent weeks, and the availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, responsive VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Oct 15, 2018 Jkt 247001 reopening of the fishery is warranted to allow fishermen to take advantage of availability of fish and of quota. NMFS could not have proposed this action earlier, as it needed to consider and respond to updated data and information about fishery conditions and this year’s landings. If NMFS was to offer a public comment period now, after having appropriately considered that data, it would preclude fishermen from harvesting BFT that are legally available. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 reasons, there also is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.27(a)(1), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: October 11, 2018. Margo B. Schulze-Haugen, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2018–22499 Filed 10–12–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\16OCR1.SGM 16OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 200 (Tuesday, October 16, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 52169-52170]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-22499]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 180117042-8884-02]
RIN 0648-XG551


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; General category October-November fishery for 
2018; fishery reopening.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that a reopening of the Atlantic bluefin 
tuna (BFT) General category fishery is warranted. This action is 
intended to provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the full annual 
U.S. bluefin tuna quota without exceeding it, while maintaining an 
equitable distribution of fishing opportunities across time periods; 
help achieve optimum yield in the bluefin tuna fishery; and optimize 
the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full bluefin tuna 
quota allocations. This action applies to Atlantic tunas General 
category (commercial) permitted vessels and Atlantic Highly Migratory 
Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels with a 
commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT.

DATES: Effective 12:30 a.m., local time, October 15, 2018, through 
11:30 p.m., local time, October 16, 2018.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) and as implemented by the United States among the various 
domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 
2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan 
(2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended 
by Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 
71510, December 2, 2014). NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-
Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable 
opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota.
    NMFS recently published a final rule (i.e., the ``quota rule'' (83 
FR 51391, October 11, 2018)) that increased the baseline U.S. bluefin 
tuna quota from 1,058.79 mt to 1,247.86 mt and accordingly increased 
the subquotas for 2018, including an increase in the General category 
October through November period subquota from 60.7 mt to 70.2 mt, 
consistent with the annual bluefin tuna quota calculation process. On 
October 4, 2018, NMFS transferred 55 mt to the General category and 
closed the General category fishery effective October 5, 2018, based on 
projections that landings would meet or exceed the adjusted October 
through November subquota of 127.2 mt by that date (83 FR 50857, 
October 10, 2018).

General Category Reopening

    As of October 11, 2018, reports show that the General category 
landed 81.8 mt before closing. This represents 64 percent of the 
adjusted October through November subquota of 127.2 mt. Based on early 
October landings rates, NMFS has determined that reopening the General 
category fishery for two days is appropriate given the amount of unused 
October through November subquota (i.e., 45.4 mt).
    Therefore, the General category fishery will reopen at 12:30 a.m., 
October 15, 2018, and close at 11:30 p.m., October 16, 2018. The 
General category daily retention limit during this reopening remains 
the same as prior to closing: one large medium or giant bluefin tuna 
per vessel per day/trip. This action applies to those vessels permitted 
in the General category, as well as to those HMS Charter/Headboat 
permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing 
commercially for BFT. Retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or 
giant BFT by persons aboard vessels permitted in the General and HMS 
Charter/Headboat categories must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on 
October 16, 2018.
    The General category will reopen automatically on December 1, 2018, 
for the December 2018 subquota period at the default one-fish level. In 
December 2017, NMFS adjusted the General category base subquota for the 
December 2018 period to 10 mt (82 FR 60680, December 22, 2017), 
although this amount increased to 14.6 mt with finalization of the 
quota rule. Based on quota availability in the Reserve, NMFS may 
consider transferring additional quota to the December subquota period, 
as appropriate.
    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 fishery closely. Dealers are 
required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer 
receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS' ability to 
timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, 
as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. 
Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, 
General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to 
report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours 
of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing 
hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling 
(888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).
    Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, 
NMFS may determine that additional adjustments are necessary to ensure 
available subquotas are not exceeded or to enhance scientific data 
collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If 
needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal 
Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas 
Information Line at (978) 281-9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for 
updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments.

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:

[[Page 52170]]

    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments provide for inseason actions to respond to the unpredictable 
nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature 
of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. 
Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement 
the fishery reopening is impracticable and contrary to the public 
interest. The General category recently closed, but based on available 
BFT quotas, fishery performance in recent weeks, and the availability 
of BFT on the fishing grounds, responsive reopening of the fishery is 
warranted to allow fishermen to take advantage of availability of fish 
and of quota. NMFS could not have proposed this action earlier, as it 
needed to consider and respond to updated data and information about 
fishery conditions and this year's landings. If NMFS was to offer a 
public comment period now, after having appropriately considered that 
data, it would preclude fishermen from harvesting BFT that are legally 
available. 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 also is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to 
waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec.  635.27(a)(1), and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: October 11, 2018.
Margo B. Schulze-Haugen,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-22499 Filed 10-12-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P