Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Skate Complex; Framework Adjustment 6; Revised 2018-2019 Specifications, 60818-60820 [2018-25727]

Download as PDF 60818 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 228 / Tuesday, November 27, 2018 / Proposed Rules The system shall file its rate justifications consistent with § 76.930. For rules governing small cable systems and small cable companies, see § 76.934. § 76.1805 ■ [Removed] 19. Remove § 76.1805. [FR Doc. 2018–25325 Filed 11–26–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Parts 501, 536, and 552 [GSAR Case 2015–G506; Docket No. GSAR– 2018–0013; Sequence No. 1] RIN 3090–AJ64 General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR); Adoption of Construction Project Delivery Method Involving Early Industry Engagement—Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc); Correction Office of Acquisition Policy, General Services Administration (GSA). ACTION: Proposed rule; Correction. AGENCY: The General Services Administration (GSA) is issuing a correction to GSAR Case 2015–G506; Adoption of Construction Project Delivery Method Involving Early Industry Engagement—Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc). The document heading carried an incorrect Regulatory Information Number (RIN) in the header. This document carries the correct RIN. DATES: Comments for the proposed rule published November 8, 2018 continue to be accepted on or before January 7, 2019 to be considered in the formulation of the final rule. ADDRESSES: Submit comments identified by GSAR Case 2015–G503 by any of the following methods: • Regulations.gov: http:// www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for ‘‘GSAR Case 2015–G506’’. Select the link ‘‘Comment Now’’ that corresponds with GSAR Case 2015– G506. Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and ‘‘GSAR Case 2015–G506’’ on your attached document. • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division, 1800 F Street NW, ATTN: Lois Mandell Washington, DC 20405. Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite GSAR Case 2015–G506 in daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 26, 2018 Jkt 247001 all correspondence related to this case. All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For clarification about content, contact Mr. Tony O. Hubbard, General Services Acquisition Policy Division, GSA, by phone at 202–357–5810 or by email at tony.hubbard@gsa.gov. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat Division by mail at 1800 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20405, or by phone at 202–501–4755. Please cite GSAR Case 2015–G506, Construction Manager as Constructor Contracting. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On November 8, 2018, at 83 FR 55838, GSA published a proposed rule to amend the GSAR to revise sections of GSAR Part 536, Construction and ArchitectEngineer Contracts, and corresponding clauses in GSAR Part 552, Solicitation Provisions and Contract Clauses to incorporate CMc contracting. The document’s heading contained the incorrect RIN, ‘‘RIN 3090–AI81’’. This correct RIN is ‘‘RIN 3090–AJ64’’ and is contained in the heading of this correction. Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c). Dated: November 20, 2018. Jeffrey A. Koses, Senior Procurement Executive, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy. [FR Doc. 2018–25741 Filed 11–26–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820–61–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 180702599–8599–01] RIN 0648–BI03 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Skate Complex; Framework Adjustment 6; Revised 2018–2019 Specifications National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Proposed rule; request for comments. ACTION: This rule proposes to approve and implement measures submitted by the New England Fishery Management Council in Framework Adjustment 6 to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan and revise the 2018– 2019 specifications. This action would reduce the management uncertainty buffer between the annual catch limit and the annual catch target from 25 to 10 percent, which would result in increasing the annual catch target and total allowable landings for the 2018– 2019 fishing years by 20 percent. This action is necessary to allow the skate wing total allowable landing to be achieved while minimizing the need to restrict fishing operations through incidental possession limits. This action intends to extend the directed fishing time for both the skate wing and bait fisheries. DATES: Public comments must be received by December 12, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2018–0123, by either of the following methods: Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. 1. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20180123, 2. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and 3. Enter or attach your comments. —OR— Mail: Submit written comments to Michael Pentony, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA, 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on the Proposed Rule to Skate Framework Adjustment 6.’’ Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments submitted as instructed that we receive 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.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\27NOP1.SGM 27NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 228 / Tuesday, November 27, 2018 / Proposed Rules Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. New England Fishery Management Council staff prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for Northeast Skate Complex Framework Adjustment 6 that describes the proposed action and other considered alternatives. The EA provides an analysis of the biological, economic, and social impacts of the proposed measures and other considered alternatives and economic analysis. Copies of the Framework 6 EA are available on request from Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950. This document is also available from the following internet addresses: http:// www.nefmc.org and www.regulations. gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS2018-0123. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Gilbert, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9244. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan (FMP), developed by the New England Fishery Management Council and implemented in 2003, manages a complex of seven skate species (barndoor, clearnose, little, 60819 rosette, smooth, thorny, and winter skate) off the New England and midAtlantic coasts. Skates are harvested and managed in two different fisheries: One for food (the wing fishery) and one for lobster and crab bait (the bait fishery). The fishing year for skates is from May 1 to April 30. The directed wing fishery is managed using possession limits in two separate seasons. The bait fishery has possession limits in three separate seasons (Table 1). When catch approaches the seasonal total allowable landings (TAL), a lower, more restrictive incidental limit is implemented to slow harvest and help ensure that seasonal quotas are not exceeded. TABLE 1—POSSESSION LIMITS PER TRIP FOR FISHING YEARS 2018–2019 Trip limits Skate possession limits * NE Multispecies, Scallop, or Monkfish Day-At-Sea (DAS): Season 1 (May 1–August 31) ................................................ Season 2 (September 1–April 30) ......................................... NE Multispecies B DAS: May 1–April 30 ....................................................................... Non-DAS: May 1–April 30 ....................................................................... Whole skate with bait Letter of Authorization: May 1–October 31 ................................................................. November 1–April 30 ............................................................. Skate wings Whole skates Barndoor ** skate wings Whole barndoor ** skates 2,600 lb, 1,179 kg ....... 4,100 lb, 1,860kg ........ 5,902 lb, 2,677 kg ....... 9,307 lb, 4,222 kg ....... 650 lb, 295 kg ............. 1,025 lb, 465 kg .......... 1,476 lb, 670 kg. 2,327 lb, 1,056 kg. 220 lb, 100 kg ............. 500 lb, 227 kg ............. 0 .................................. 0. 500 lb, 227 kg ............. 1,135 lb, 515 kg .......... 0 .................................. 0. 0 .................................. 0 .................................. 25,000 lb, 11,340 kg ... 12,000 lb, 5,443 kg ..... 0 .................................. 0 .................................. 0. 0. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS * Possession limits may be modified in-season in order to prevent catch from exceeding quotas. ** Barndoor skate trip limits are within the overall skate possession limit for each trip, not in addition to it. In recent years, a combination of lower overall catch limits and strong fishery participation has caused the incidental limits in both the wing and bait fisheries to be triggered with several months remaining in the fishing year. To address this issue for the bait fishery, the Council developed and NMFS implemented Framework Adjustment 4 in March 2018 to better control the catch of skate bait throughout the fishing year (83 FR 6133; February 13, 2018). Similarly, in January 2018, the Council initiated Framework Adjustment 6 to adjust measures to extend the directed skate wing fishing year and reduce negative impacts when skate wing incidental limits are triggered. The Council took final action on Framework 6 at its June 2018 meeting. fisheries. Council analysis indicates that this revised buffer would likely delay the need to implement the restrictive incidental limit of 500 lb (227 kg) in the wing fishery until closer to the end of the fishing year. For the bait fishery, this buffer reduction is expected to delay the incidental trigger until around March. The analyses within Framework 6 indicate that the level of management uncertainty within the skate fishery has likely reduced since the implementation of the ACL operational framework in 2010. For example, management controls put in place have been effective at constraining catch; species identification and catch accounting has improved; ACLs have not been exceeded, and only minor overages of fishery TALs have occurred. Proposed Measures Revised 2018–2019 Specifications This action would adjust the management uncertainty buffer between the annual catch limit (ACL) and annual catch target (ACT) in the skate FMP. The current uncertainty buffer between the ACL and ACT is 25 percent (i.e., ACT = 75 percent of ACL). This action would reduce this buffer to 10 percent, allowing for an increase in the TALs allocated to both the wing and bait The proposed modification to the management uncertainty buffer would result in adjustments to the 2018–2019 specifications implemented through Framework Adjustment 5 (83 FR 48985; September 28, 2018). NMFS is proposing the following revised specifications for the 2018–2019 fishing years as recommended by the Council in Framework 6: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 26, 2018 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 1. The acceptable biological catch and ACL would remain at 31,327 mt; 2. An ACT of 28,194 mt (90 percent of the ACL); 3. A TAL of the 15,788 mt for the entire skate fishery; 4. A TAL of 10,499 mt for the wing fishery, that is divided in two seasons according to the current regulations at 50 CFR 648.322. In season 1 (May 1– August 31) the TAL would be 5,984 mt (57 percent), and the remainder of the TAL allocated to Season 2 (September 1–April 30). As the 2018 fishing year started on May 1, the wing TALs would be retroactively increased. The regulations for the skate fishery allow for unused wing TAL from Season 1 to be rolled-over to Season 2. NMFS estimates that 4,490 mt of wings were landed in Season 1, and therefore 497 mt can be rolled over to Season 2 in 2018. Given this, the Season 2 wing TAL in 2018 would be approximately 5,012 mt. 5. A TAL of 5,289 mt for the bait fishery that is divided into three seasons according to the current regulations at § 648.322. In Season 1 (May 1–July 31) the TAL would be 1,629 mt (30.8 percent); in Season 2 (August 1–October 31) the TAL would be 1,962 mt (37.1 percent), and the remainder (1,698 mt) E:\FR\FM\27NOP1.SGM 27NOP1 60820 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 228 / Tuesday, November 27, 2018 / Proposed Rules daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS would be allocated to Season 3 (November 1–April 30). As the 2018 fishing year started on May 1, the bait TALs would be retroactively increased. The regulations for the skate fishery allow for the unused bait TAL from Seasons 1 and 2 to be rolled-over to Season 3. Therefore, once TALs are revised for Seasons 1 and 2 and landings have been accounted for, NMFS would adjust the 2018 Season 3 bait TAL accordingly. At a minimum the 2018 Season 3 bait TAL is expected to increase by 598 mt (i.e., the sum of the proposed revised 2018 Season 1 and Season 2 bait TALs under Skate Framework 6, minus the sum of the Season 1 and 2 bait TALs under the 2018–2019 specifications implemented through Skate Framework 5). The Council reviewed the proposed regulations and deemed them necessary and appropriate to implement consistent with section 303(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has made a preliminary determination that this proposed rule is consistent with the FMP, Framework 6, provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination is as follows. The purpose of this action is to allow the skate wing TAL to be achieved while minimizing the need to restrict fishing operations through incidental possession limits. As proposed, this action would reduce the management uncertainty buffer between the skate ACL and the ACT from 25 to 10 percent, which would result in increasing the ACT and TAL for the 2018–2019 fishing years by 20 percent. This action, if implemented, is expected to extend the directed fishing year for both the skate wing and bait fisheries and allow higher magnitude landings for a longer portion of the fishing year. The action would impact vessels or affiliated groups that hold Federal skate permits and participate in skate fisheries. The Council’s analysis of 2017 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 26, 2018 Jkt 247001 data, the most recent complete set of data available, indicates that the skate fishery had 288 affiliated groups with single permits, and another 91 vessels belonged to affiliated groups that hold 2 or more permits. It is difficult to quantitatively analyze the economic impacts of increasing TALs, as economic impacts would have to be compared against 2015 fishing year data (the last year in which the incidental possession limit was not imposed) when TALs were higher than the proposed revised 2018 levels under Framework 6. Therefore, a qualitative analysis is described below. For Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11.0 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The determination as to whether the entity is large or small is based on a 3-year average of annual revenue. Affiliate data are assembled by NMFS, as of June 1st each year, for analysis required by the RFA. During fishing year 2017, 334 regulated entities landed skates; 330 entities were small and 4 were large. All 334 entities could be directly regulated by this proposed action. This action, which proposes to increase the ACT and TALs for the 2018–2019 fishing years by 20 percent, is expected to result in increased revenues and economic benefits. This action is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The effects of this action on the regulated small entities in this analysis are expected to be positive. Under the proposed action, small entities would not be placed at a competitive disadvantage relative to large entities, and the regulations would not reduce profits for any small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. This rule would not establish any new reporting or recordkeeping requirements. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 Dated: November 20, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.320, paragraph (a)(4) is revised to read as follows: ■ § 648.320 Skate FMP review and monitoring. (a) * * * (4) Based on the annual review described above and/or the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report described in paragraph (b) of this section, recommendations for acceptable biological catch (ABC) from the Scientific and Statistical Committee, and any other relevant information, the Skate PDT shall recommend to the Skate Committee and Council the following annual specifications for harvest of skates: An annual catch limit (ACL) for the skate complex set less than or equal to ABC; an annual catch target (ACT) for the skate complex set less than or equal to 90 percent of the ACL; and total allowable landings (TAL) necessary to meet the objectives of the FMP in each fishing year (May 1–April 30), specified for a period of up to 2 fishing years. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 648.323, paragraph (b)(1) is revised to read as follows: § 648.323 Accountability measures. * * * * * (b) * * * (1) If the ACL is determined to have been exceeded in any given year, based upon, but not limited to, available landings and discard information, the percent buffer between ACL and ACT shall be increased by 1 percent for each 1-percent ACL overage in the second fishing year following the fishing year in which the ACL overage occurred, through either the specifications or framework adjustment process described under §§ 648.320 and 648.321. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2018–25727 Filed 11–26–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\27NOP1.SGM 27NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 228 (Tuesday, November 27, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60818-60820]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-25727]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 180702599-8599-01]
RIN 0648-BI03


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Skate 
Complex; Framework Adjustment 6; Revised 2018-2019 Specifications

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This rule proposes to approve and implement measures submitted 
by the New England Fishery Management Council in Framework Adjustment 6 
to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan and revise the 
2018-2019 specifications. This action would reduce the management 
uncertainty buffer between the annual catch limit and the annual catch 
target from 25 to 10 percent, which would result in increasing the 
annual catch target and total allowable landings for the 2018-2019 
fishing years by 20 percent. This action is necessary to allow the 
skate wing total allowable landing to be achieved while minimizing the 
need to restrict fishing operations through incidental possession 
limits. This action intends to extend the directed fishing time for 
both the skate wing and bait fisheries.

DATES: Public comments must be received by December 12, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2018-0123, by either of the following methods:
    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via 
the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
    1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0123,
    2. Click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, 
and
    3. Enter or attach your comments.

--OR--

    Mail: Submit written comments to Michael Pentony, Regional 
Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic 
Drive, Gloucester, MA, 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, 
``Comments on the Proposed Rule to Skate Framework Adjustment 6.''
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments submitted as instructed 
that we receive 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.), 
confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information 
submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS 
will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if 
you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will 
be accepted in Microsoft

[[Page 60819]]

Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    New England Fishery Management Council staff prepared an 
environmental assessment (EA) for Northeast Skate Complex Framework 
Adjustment 6 that describes the proposed action and other considered 
alternatives. The EA provides an analysis of the biological, economic, 
and social impacts of the proposed measures and other considered 
alternatives and economic analysis. Copies of the Framework 6 EA are 
available on request from Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New 
England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 
01950. This document is also available from the following internet 
addresses: http://www.nefmc.org and www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0123.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Gilbert, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9244.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan (FMP), 
developed by the New England Fishery Management Council and implemented 
in 2003, manages a complex of seven skate species (barndoor, clearnose, 
little, rosette, smooth, thorny, and winter skate) off the New England 
and mid-Atlantic coasts. Skates are harvested and managed in two 
different fisheries: One for food (the wing fishery) and one for 
lobster and crab bait (the bait fishery).
    The fishing year for skates is from May 1 to April 30. The directed 
wing fishery is managed using possession limits in two separate 
seasons. The bait fishery has possession limits in three separate 
seasons (Table 1). When catch approaches the seasonal total allowable 
landings (TAL), a lower, more restrictive incidental limit is 
implemented to slow harvest and help ensure that seasonal quotas are 
not exceeded.

                         Table 1--Possession Limits per Trip for Fishing Years 2018-2019
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Trip limits
                               ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Skate possession limits *                                             Barndoor **
                                   Skate wings        Whole skates       skate wings    Whole barndoor ** skates
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NE Multispecies, Scallop, or
 Monkfish Day-At-Sea (DAS):
    Season 1 (May 1-August 31)  2,600 lb, 1,179    5,902 lb, 2,677    650 lb, 295 kg..  1,476 lb, 670 kg.
                                 kg.                kg.
    Season 2 (September 1-      4,100 lb, 1,860kg  9,307 lb, 4,222    1,025 lb, 465 kg  2,327 lb, 1,056 kg.
     April 30).                                     kg.
NE Multispecies B DAS:
    May 1-April 30............  220 lb, 100 kg...  500 lb, 227 kg...  0...............  0.
Non-DAS:
    May 1-April 30............  500 lb, 227 kg...  1,135 lb, 515 kg.  0...............  0.
Whole skate with bait Letter
 of Authorization:
    May 1-October 31..........  0................  25,000 lb, 11,340  0...............  0.
                                                    kg.
    November 1-April 30.......  0................  12,000 lb, 5,443   0...............  0.
                                                    kg.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Possession limits may be modified in-season in order to prevent catch from exceeding quotas.
** Barndoor skate trip limits are within the overall skate possession limit for each trip, not in addition to
  it.

    In recent years, a combination of lower overall catch limits and 
strong fishery participation has caused the incidental limits in both 
the wing and bait fisheries to be triggered with several months 
remaining in the fishing year. To address this issue for the bait 
fishery, the Council developed and NMFS implemented Framework 
Adjustment 4 in March 2018 to better control the catch of skate bait 
throughout the fishing year (83 FR 6133; February 13, 2018). Similarly, 
in January 2018, the Council initiated Framework Adjustment 6 to adjust 
measures to extend the directed skate wing fishing year and reduce 
negative impacts when skate wing incidental limits are triggered. The 
Council took final action on Framework 6 at its June 2018 meeting.

Proposed Measures

    This action would adjust the management uncertainty buffer between 
the annual catch limit (ACL) and annual catch target (ACT) in the skate 
FMP. The current uncertainty buffer between the ACL and ACT is 25 
percent (i.e., ACT = 75 percent of ACL). This action would reduce this 
buffer to 10 percent, allowing for an increase in the TALs allocated to 
both the wing and bait fisheries. Council analysis indicates that this 
revised buffer would likely delay the need to implement the restrictive 
incidental limit of 500 lb (227 kg) in the wing fishery until closer to 
the end of the fishing year. For the bait fishery, this buffer 
reduction is expected to delay the incidental trigger until around 
March. The analyses within Framework 6 indicate that the level of 
management uncertainty within the skate fishery has likely reduced 
since the implementation of the ACL operational framework in 2010. For 
example, management controls put in place have been effective at 
constraining catch; species identification and catch accounting has 
improved; ACLs have not been exceeded, and only minor overages of 
fishery TALs have occurred.

Revised 2018-2019 Specifications

    The proposed modification to the management uncertainty buffer 
would result in adjustments to the 2018-2019 specifications implemented 
through Framework Adjustment 5 (83 FR 48985; September 28, 2018). NMFS 
is proposing the following revised specifications for the 2018-2019 
fishing years as recommended by the Council in Framework 6:
    1. The acceptable biological catch and ACL would remain at 31,327 
mt;
    2. An ACT of 28,194 mt (90 percent of the ACL);
    3. A TAL of the 15,788 mt for the entire skate fishery;
    4. A TAL of 10,499 mt for the wing fishery, that is divided in two 
seasons according to the current regulations at 50 CFR 648.322. In 
season 1 (May 1-August 31) the TAL would be 5,984 mt (57 percent), and 
the remainder of the TAL allocated to Season 2 (September 1-April 30). 
As the 2018 fishing year started on May 1, the wing TALs would be 
retroactively increased. The regulations for the skate fishery allow 
for unused wing TAL from Season 1 to be rolled-over to Season 2. NMFS 
estimates that 4,490 mt of wings were landed in Season 1, and therefore 
497 mt can be rolled over to Season 2 in 2018. Given this, the Season 2 
wing TAL in 2018 would be approximately 5,012 mt.
    5. A TAL of 5,289 mt for the bait fishery that is divided into 
three seasons according to the current regulations at Sec.  648.322. In 
Season 1 (May 1-July 31) the TAL would be 1,629 mt (30.8 percent); in 
Season 2 (August 1-October 31) the TAL would be 1,962 mt (37.1 
percent), and the remainder (1,698 mt)

[[Page 60820]]

would be allocated to Season 3 (November 1-April 30). As the 2018 
fishing year started on May 1, the bait TALs would be retroactively 
increased. The regulations for the skate fishery allow for the unused 
bait TAL from Seasons 1 and 2 to be rolled-over to Season 3. Therefore, 
once TALs are revised for Seasons 1 and 2 and landings have been 
accounted for, NMFS would adjust the 2018 Season 3 bait TAL 
accordingly. At a minimum the 2018 Season 3 bait TAL is expected to 
increase by 598 mt (i.e., the sum of the proposed revised 2018 Season 1 
and Season 2 bait TALs under Skate Framework 6, minus the sum of the 
Season 1 and 2 bait TALs under the 2018-2019 specifications implemented 
through Skate Framework 5).
    The Council reviewed the proposed regulations and deemed them 
necessary and appropriate to implement consistent with section 303(c) 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has made a preliminary determination that 
this proposed rule is consistent with the FMP, Framework 6, provisions 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to 
further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. 
The factual basis for this determination is as follows.
    The purpose of this action is to allow the skate wing TAL to be 
achieved while minimizing the need to restrict fishing operations 
through incidental possession limits. As proposed, this action would 
reduce the management uncertainty buffer between the skate ACL and the 
ACT from 25 to 10 percent, which would result in increasing the ACT and 
TAL for the 2018-2019 fishing years by 20 percent. This action, if 
implemented, is expected to extend the directed fishing year for both 
the skate wing and bait fisheries and allow higher magnitude landings 
for a longer portion of the fishing year.
    The action would impact vessels or affiliated groups that hold 
Federal skate permits and participate in skate fisheries. The Council's 
analysis of 2017 data, the most recent complete set of data available, 
indicates that the skate fishery had 288 affiliated groups with single 
permits, and another 91 vessels belonged to affiliated groups that hold 
2 or more permits. It is difficult to quantitatively analyze the 
economic impacts of increasing TALs, as economic impacts would have to 
be compared against 2015 fishing year data (the last year in which the 
incidental possession limit was not imposed) when TALs were higher than 
the proposed revised 2018 levels under Framework 6. Therefore, a 
qualitative analysis is described below.
    For Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) purposes only, NMFS has 
established a small business size standard for businesses, including 
their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 
CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS 
code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently 
owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation 
(including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in 
excess of $11.0 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. 
The determination as to whether the entity is large or small is based 
on a 3-year average of annual revenue.
    Affiliate data are assembled by NMFS, as of June 1st each year, for 
analysis required by the RFA. During fishing year 2017, 334 regulated 
entities landed skates; 330 entities were small and 4 were large. All 
334 entities could be directly regulated by this proposed action.
    This action, which proposes to increase the ACT and TALs for the 
2018-2019 fishing years by 20 percent, is expected to result in 
increased revenues and economic benefits. This action is not expected 
to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The effects of this action on the regulated small entities in 
this analysis are expected to be positive. Under the proposed action, 
small entities would not be placed at a competitive disadvantage 
relative to large entities, and the regulations would not reduce 
profits for any small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.
    This rule would not establish any new reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: November 20, 2018.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. In Sec.  648.320, paragraph (a)(4) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  648.320   Skate FMP review and monitoring.

    (a) * * *
    (4) Based on the annual review described above and/or the Stock 
Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report described in paragraph 
(b) of this section, recommendations for acceptable biological catch 
(ABC) from the Scientific and Statistical Committee, and any other 
relevant information, the Skate PDT shall recommend to the Skate 
Committee and Council the following annual specifications for harvest 
of skates: An annual catch limit (ACL) for the skate complex set less 
than or equal to ABC; an annual catch target (ACT) for the skate 
complex set less than or equal to 90 percent of the ACL; and total 
allowable landings (TAL) necessary to meet the objectives of the FMP in 
each fishing year (May 1-April 30), specified for a period of up to 2 
fishing years.
* * * * *
0
3. In Sec.  648.323, paragraph (b)(1) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  648.323   Accountability measures.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) If the ACL is determined to have been exceeded in any given 
year, based upon, but not limited to, available landings and discard 
information, the percent buffer between ACL and ACT shall be increased 
by 1 percent for each 1-percent ACL overage in the second fishing year 
following the fishing year in which the ACL overage occurred, through 
either the specifications or framework adjustment process described 
under Sec. Sec.  648.320 and 648.321.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2018-25727 Filed 11-26-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P