Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Shortraker Rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska, 57341-57342 [2018-24914]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 221 / Thursday, November 15, 2018 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES mt, consistent with the annual BFT 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). Since October 5, 2018, NMFS has reopened the October through November subquota period two separate times for multiple days in an attempt to allow the available quota to be harvested (83 FR 52169, October 16, 2018, and 83 FR 55108, November 2, 2018). General Category Reopening As of November 6, 2018, reports show that the October through November landings are still less than the available subquota of 127.2 mt. Based on landings rates, NMFS has determined that reopening the General category fishery for five days is appropriate. Therefore, the General category fishery will reopen at 12:30 a.m., November 12, 2018, and close at 11:30 p.m., November 16, 2018. The General category daily retention limit during this reopening is one large medium or giant BFT 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 November 16, 2018. The General category will reopen automatically on December 1, 2018, for the December 2018 subquota period at the default retention limit of one fish. 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-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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Nov 14, 2018 Jkt 247001 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: 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, recent fishery performance, 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 PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 57341 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 § 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: November 9, 2018. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2018–24954 Filed 11–9–18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 170816769–8162–02] RIN 0648–XG625 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Shortraker Rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is prohibiting retention of shortraker rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the 2018 total allowable catch of shortraker rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will be reached. SUMMARY: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 9, 2018, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North DATES: E:\FR\FM\15NOR1.SGM 15NOR1 57342 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 221 / Thursday, November 15, 2018 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. The 2018 total allowable catch (TAC) of shortraker rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 305 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (83 FR 8768, March 1, 2018). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(2), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2018 TAC of shortraker rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will be reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that shortraker rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA be treated as prohibited species in accordance VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Nov 14, 2018 Jkt 247001 with § 679.21(b). This action does not apply to fishing by trawl catcher/ processors in the cooperative fishery in the Rockfish Program for the Central GOA. Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay prohibiting the retention of shortraker rockfish in the Central PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of November 8, 2018. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment. This action is required by § 679.20 and § 679.21 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 9, 2018. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2018–24914 Filed 11–9–18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\15NOR1.SGM 15NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 221 (Thursday, November 15, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 57341-57342]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-24914]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 170816769-8162-02]
RIN 0648-XG625


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Shortraker 
Rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting retention of shortraker rockfish in the 
Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is 
necessary because the 2018 total allowable catch of shortraker rockfish 
in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will be reached.

DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), November 9, 
2018, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North

[[Page 57342]]

Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing 
fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H 
of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.
    The 2018 total allowable catch (TAC) of shortraker rockfish in the 
Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 305 metric tons (mt) as 
established by the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for 
groundfish of the GOA (83 FR 8768, March 1, 2018).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(2), the Administrator, Alaska 
Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2018 TAC 
of shortraker rockfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will 
be reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that shortraker rockfish in 
the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA be treated as prohibited species 
in accordance with Sec.  679.21(b). This action does not apply to 
fishing by trawl catcher/processors in the cooperative fishery in the 
Rockfish Program for the Central GOA.

Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set 
forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and 
contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and 
contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from 
responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and 
would delay prohibiting the retention of shortraker rockfish in the 
Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice 
providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant 
data only became available as of November 8, 2018.
    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the 
effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is 
based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment.
    This action is required by Sec.  679.20 and Sec.  679.21 and is 
exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: November 9, 2018.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-24914 Filed 11-9-18; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P