Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Mid-Atlantic Blueline Tilefish Fishery; 2019 and Projected 2020-2021 Specifications, 3341-3342 [2019-01929]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 29 / Tuesday, February 12, 2019 / Rules and Regulations [Docket No. 181022971–8999–02] Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan. It is also intended to inform the public of these specifications for the 2019 fishing year and projected specifications for 2020– 2021. RIN 0648–BI57 DATES: DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Mid-Atlantic Blueline Tilefish Fishery; 2019 and Projected 2020–2021 Specifications National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS finalizes specifications for the 2019 Mid-Atlantic blueline tilefish fishery north of the North Carolina/Virginia border and projects specifications for 2020 and 2021. This action is necessary to establish allowable harvest levels and other management measures to prevent overfishing while allowing optimum yield, consistent with the Magnuson- SUMMARY: This rule is effective February 12, 2019. ADDRESSES: Copies of the environmental assessment are available on request from the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 North State Street, Dover, DE 19901. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Potts, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9341. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The blueline tilefish fishery north of the North Carolina/Virginia border is managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council under the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The blueline tilefish fishery south of the North Carolina/Virginia border is managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council under the 3341 Snapper-Grouper FMP. Regulations implementing the Tilefish FMP appear at 50 CFR part 648, subparts A and N. The FMP and its implementing regulations detail the Council’s process for establishing specifications. Fishery specifications for blueline tilefish include catch and landing limits for the commercial and recreational fisheries. Detailed background information regarding the development of the 2019– 2021 specifications for this fishery was provided in the specifications proposed rule (November 19, 2018; 83 FR 58219). That information is not repeated here. 2019 and Projected 2020–2021 Specifications Table 1 shows the 2019 and projected 2020–2021 specifications including the acceptable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limit (ACL), annual catch target (ACT), and total allowable catch (TAL) for the commercial and recreational aspects of the Mid-Atlantic blueline tilefish fishery. NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register before the 2020 and 2021 fishing years notifying the public of the final specifications for each year. TABLE 1—2018, 2019, AND PROJECTED 2020–2021 BLUELINE TILEFISH SPECIFICATIONS 2018 ABC—North of NC/VA line ................................................................. Recreational ACL/ACT ....................................................................... Commercial ACL/ACT ........................................................................ Recreational TAL ................................................................................ Commercial TAL ................................................................................. This action increases the commercial possession limit from 300 lb (136 kg) to 500 lb (227 kg) per-trip to assist the commercial fishery in harvesting the commercial TAL. To prevent the commercial TAL from being landed too quickly the Regional Administrator may reduce the possession limit to 300 lb (136 kg) per trip when 70 percent of the commercial TAL has been landed. This action makes no change to the recreational fishery beyond the increase to the recreational TAL (Table 1). The recreational fishery is open from May 1 through October 31 of each year and closed from November 1 through April 30. The bag limit for blueline tilefish depends on the type of fishing vessel being used. On a private boat, each angler may keep up to three blueline tilefish. On uninspected for-hire vessels (charter boats), each angler may keep up to five blueline tilefish. On U.S. Coast Guard-inspected for-hire vessels (party boats), each angler may keep up to seven blueline tilefish. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Feb 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 87,031 63,533 23,498 62,262 23,263 2019 lb (39.5 mt) ...... (28.8 mt) ......... lb (10.6 mt) ...... lb (28.2 mt) ...... lb (10.5 mt) ...... Comments The public comment period for the proposed rule ended on December 4, 2018. We received one comment on the proposed rule. Comment: The commenter opposed the increase in the commercial possession limit and recommended a drastic cut in harvest quotas or risk the species going extinct. Response: In 2017 and 2018, while operating under a 300 lb (136 kg) possession limit, the commercial blueline tilefish fishery did not exceed the commercial TAL. Analysis conducted by the Mid-Atlantic Council indicates the 500 lb (227 kg) possession limit would not result in exceeding the new, higher commercial TAL. If commercial harvest nears the TAL, the Regional Administrator has the authority to reduce the possession limit to slow harvest rates and to close the fishery if the TAL is landed. The commenter presented no clear rationale or evidence supporting the claim that PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 100,520 lb (45.6 mt) ... 73,380 (33.3 mt) ......... 27,140 lb (12.3 mt) ..... 71,912 lb (32.6 mt) ...... 26,869 lb (12.2 mt) ...... Projected 2020–2021 100,520 lb (45.6 mt). 73,380 (33.3 mt). 27,140 lb (12.3 mt). 71,912 lb (32.6 mt). 26,869 lb (12.2 mt). the harvest quotas would result in extinction of the species. The Council’s recommended harvest quotas were set based on the results of a scientifically peer-reviewed stock assessment. NMFS used the best scientific information available when assessing the potential environmental impacts of this action and is approving specifications for the Mid-Atlantic blueline tilefish fishery that are consistent with the FMP, all applicable legal requirements, and the recommendations of the Council. Changes From Proposed to Final Rule This final rule adds regulatory text to 50 CFR 648.14(u) and 648.296(b) establishing the recreational blueline tilefish fishing season that was inadvertently omitted from a November 15, 2017, final rule (82 FR 52851). In Amendment 6 to the Tilefish FMP, the Council recommended the recreational blueline tilefish fishery be open from May 1 through October 31 and closed November 1 through April 30 each year. The proposed rule (82 FR 29263; June E:\FR\FM\12FER1.SGM 12FER1 3342 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 29 / Tuesday, February 12, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 28, 2017) and final rule for that action both clearly described the recreational fishing season in the preamble, but neglected to include the measure in the regulatory text. The Amendment 6 final rule clearly intended to implement the recreational closure, and included formal responses to public comments regarding the closure. The recreational season was also included in our public outreach material about the amendment. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MagnusonStevens Act), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this rule is consistent with the Tilefish FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness provision of the Administrative Procedure Act for these specifications. This action will increase the annual total allowable landings for the commercial and recreational fisheries by 15 percent and will increase the commercial possession limit from 300 lb (136 kg) to 500 lb (227 kg) per trip. It would be unnecessary and contrary to the public interest to provide for prior notice and an opportunity for public comment for the implementation of the blueline tilefish recreational season. The Tilefish Amendment 6 proposed rule (82 FR 29263; June 28, 2017) described the recreational fishing season in the preamble and solicited public comment. The November 15, 2017, final rule (82 FR 52851) included our response to public comments on the measure, and stated the season would be implemented as proposed. Seeking additional public comment at this point would be unlikely to provide new insight and would further delay final implementation of the recreational season. Similarly, the need to implement this measure in a timely manner to avoid fishing during a period we had previously announced the fishery would be closed constitutes good cause under authority contained in 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), to waive the 30-day delay in effective date. A delay in the effective date of the recreational season would seemingly conflict with the November 15, 2017, final rule and would cause confusion among the public about whether or not the blueline tilefish recreational fishery is open. This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:31 Feb 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this 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. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: February 6, 2019. 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 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 § 648.14, paragraph (u)(2)(x) is added to read as follows: ■ § 648.14 § 648.296 Tilefish recreational possession limits and gear restrictions. * * * * * (b) * * * The recreational blueline tilefish fishery is open May 1 through October 31, and closed November 1 through April 30. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–01929 Filed 2–11–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Prohibitions. * * * * * (u) * * * (2) * * * (x) Engage in recreational fishing for blueline tilefish outside of the recreational open season specified at § 648.296(b). * * * * * ■ 3. In § 648.295, paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) are revised to read as follows: § 648.295 Tilefish commercial trip limits and landing condition. * * * * * (b) * * * (1) Commercial possession limit. Any vessel of the United States fishing under a tilefish permit, as described at § 648.4(a)(12), is prohibited from possessing more than 500 lb (227 kg) of gutted blueline tilefish per trip in or from the Tilefish Management Unit. (2) In-season adjustment of possession limit. The Regional Administrator will monitor the harvest of the blueline tilefish commercial TAL based on dealer reports and other available information. (i) When 70 percent of the blueline tilefish commercial TAL will be landed, the Regional Administrator may publish PO 00000 a notice in the Federal Register notifying vessel and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, the blueline tilefish commercial possession limit is reduced to 300 lb (136 kg) of gutted blueline tilefish per trip in or from the Tilefish Management Unit. (ii) When 100 percent of the blueline tilefish commercial TAL will be landed, the Regional Administrator will publish a notice in the Federal Register notifying vessel and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, the blueline tilefish commercial fishery is closed for the remainder of the fishing year. No vessel may retain or land blueline tilefish in or from the Tilefish Management Unit after the announced closure date. * * * * * ■ 4. In § 648.296, paragraph (b) introductory text is added to read as follows: Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 170816769–8162–02] RIN 0648–XG972 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Less Than 50 Feet Length Overall Using Hook-and-Line Gear 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 directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 50 feet length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2019 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to catcher SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12FER1.SGM 12FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 29 (Tuesday, February 12, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 3341-3342]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-01929]



[[Page 3341]]

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 181022971-8999-02]
RIN 0648-BI57


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Mid-Atlantic 
Blueline Tilefish Fishery; 2019 and Projected 2020-2021 Specifications

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS finalizes specifications for the 2019 Mid-Atlantic 
blueline tilefish fishery north of the North Carolina/Virginia border 
and projects specifications for 2020 and 2021. This action is necessary 
to establish allowable harvest levels and other management measures to 
prevent overfishing while allowing optimum yield, consistent with the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the 
Tilefish Fishery Management Plan. It is also intended to inform the 
public of these specifications for the 2019 fishing year and projected 
specifications for 2020-2021.

DATES: This rule is effective February 12, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the environmental assessment are available on 
request from the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 
800 North State Street, Dover, DE 19901.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Potts, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9341.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The blueline tilefish fishery north of the North Carolina/Virginia 
border is managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council under 
the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The blueline tilefish 
fishery south of the North Carolina/Virginia border is managed by the 
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council under the Snapper-Grouper 
FMP. Regulations implementing the Tilefish FMP appear at 50 CFR part 
648, subparts A and N. The FMP and its implementing regulations detail 
the Council's process for establishing specifications. Fishery 
specifications for blueline tilefish include catch and landing limits 
for the commercial and recreational fisheries.
    Detailed background information regarding the development of the 
2019-2021 specifications for this fishery was provided in the 
specifications proposed rule (November 19, 2018; 83 FR 58219). That 
information is not repeated here.

2019 and Projected 2020-2021 Specifications

    Table 1 shows the 2019 and projected 2020-2021 specifications 
including the acceptable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limit 
(ACL), annual catch target (ACT), and total allowable catch (TAL) for 
the commercial and recreational aspects of the Mid-Atlantic blueline 
tilefish fishery. NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register 
before the 2020 and 2021 fishing years notifying the public of the 
final specifications for each year.

                                      Table 1--2018, 2019, and Projected 2020-2021 Blueline Tilefish Specifications
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        2018                                  2019                           Projected 2020-2021
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC--North of NC/VA line.............  87,031 lb (39.5 mt)..................  100,520 lb (45.6 mt)................  100,520 lb (45.6 mt).
Recreational ACL/ACT.................  63,533 (28.8 mt).....................  73,380 (33.3 mt)....................  73,380 (33.3 mt).
Commercial ACL/ACT...................  23,498 lb (10.6 mt)..................  27,140 lb (12.3 mt).................  27,140 lb (12.3 mt).
Recreational TAL.....................  62,262 lb (28.2 mt)..................  71,912 lb (32.6 mt).................  71,912 lb (32.6 mt).
Commercial TAL.......................  23,263 lb (10.5 mt)..................  26,869 lb (12.2 mt).................  26,869 lb (12.2 mt).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This action increases the commercial possession limit from 300 lb 
(136 kg) to 500 lb (227 kg) per-trip to assist the commercial fishery 
in harvesting the commercial TAL. To prevent the commercial TAL from 
being landed too quickly the Regional Administrator may reduce the 
possession limit to 300 lb (136 kg) per trip when 70 percent of the 
commercial TAL has been landed.
    This action makes no change to the recreational fishery beyond the 
increase to the recreational TAL (Table 1). The recreational fishery is 
open from May 1 through October 31 of each year and closed from 
November 1 through April 30. The bag limit for blueline tilefish 
depends on the type of fishing vessel being used. On a private boat, 
each angler may keep up to three blueline tilefish. On uninspected for-
hire vessels (charter boats), each angler may keep up to five blueline 
tilefish. On U.S. Coast Guard-inspected for-hire vessels (party boats), 
each angler may keep up to seven blueline tilefish.

Comments

    The public comment period for the proposed rule ended on December 
4, 2018. We received one comment on the proposed rule.
    Comment: The commenter opposed the increase in the commercial 
possession limit and recommended a drastic cut in harvest quotas or 
risk the species going extinct.
    Response: In 2017 and 2018, while operating under a 300 lb (136 kg) 
possession limit, the commercial blueline tilefish fishery did not 
exceed the commercial TAL. Analysis conducted by the Mid-Atlantic 
Council indicates the 500 lb (227 kg) possession limit would not result 
in exceeding the new, higher commercial TAL. If commercial harvest 
nears the TAL, the Regional Administrator has the authority to reduce 
the possession limit to slow harvest rates and to close the fishery if 
the TAL is landed. The commenter presented no clear rationale or 
evidence supporting the claim that the harvest quotas would result in 
extinction of the species. The Council's recommended harvest quotas 
were set based on the results of a scientifically peer-reviewed stock 
assessment. NMFS used the best scientific information available when 
assessing the potential environmental impacts of this action and is 
approving specifications for the Mid-Atlantic blueline tilefish fishery 
that are consistent with the FMP, all applicable legal requirements, 
and the recommendations of the Council.

Changes From Proposed to Final Rule

    This final rule adds regulatory text to 50 CFR 648.14(u) and 
648.296(b) establishing the recreational blueline tilefish fishing 
season that was inadvertently omitted from a November 15, 2017, final 
rule (82 FR 52851). In Amendment 6 to the Tilefish FMP, the Council 
recommended the recreational blueline tilefish fishery be open from May 
1 through October 31 and closed November 1 through April 30 each year. 
The proposed rule (82 FR 29263; June

[[Page 3342]]

28, 2017) and final rule for that action both clearly described the 
recreational fishing season in the preamble, but neglected to include 
the measure in the regulatory text. The Amendment 6 final rule clearly 
intended to implement the recreational closure, and included formal 
responses to public comments regarding the closure. The recreational 
season was also included in our public outreach material about the 
amendment.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Assistant 
Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this rule is 
consistent with the Tilefish FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, and other applicable law.
    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries finds that there is good 
cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delayed 
effectiveness provision of the Administrative Procedure Act for these 
specifications. This action will increase the annual total allowable 
landings for the commercial and recreational fisheries by 15 percent 
and will increase the commercial possession limit from 300 lb (136 kg) 
to 500 lb (227 kg) per trip. It would be unnecessary and contrary to 
the public interest to provide for prior notice and an opportunity for 
public comment for the implementation of the blueline tilefish 
recreational season. The Tilefish Amendment 6 proposed rule (82 FR 
29263; June 28, 2017) described the recreational fishing season in the 
preamble and solicited public comment. The November 15, 2017, final 
rule (82 FR 52851) included our response to public comments on the 
measure, and stated the season would be implemented as proposed. 
Seeking additional public comment at this point would be unlikely to 
provide new insight and would further delay final implementation of the 
recreational season. Similarly, the need to implement this measure in a 
timely manner to avoid fishing during a period we had previously 
announced the fishery would be closed constitutes good cause under 
authority contained in 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), to waive the 30-day delay in 
effective date. A delay in the effective date of the recreational 
season would seemingly conflict with the November 15, 2017, final rule 
and would cause confusion among the public about whether or not the 
blueline tilefish recreational fishery is open.
    This 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 during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for this 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.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: February 6, 2019.
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 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.  648.14, paragraph (u)(2)(x) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  648.14  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (u) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (x) Engage in recreational fishing for blueline tilefish outside of 
the recreational open season specified at Sec.  648.296(b).
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  648.295, paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) are revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  648.295  Tilefish commercial trip limits and landing condition.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) Commercial possession limit. Any vessel of the United States 
fishing under a tilefish permit, as described at Sec.  648.4(a)(12), is 
prohibited from possessing more than 500 lb (227 kg) of gutted blueline 
tilefish per trip in or from the Tilefish Management Unit.
    (2) In-season adjustment of possession limit. The Regional 
Administrator will monitor the harvest of the blueline tilefish 
commercial TAL based on dealer reports and other available information.
    (i) When 70 percent of the blueline tilefish commercial TAL will be 
landed, the Regional Administrator may publish a notice in the Federal 
Register notifying vessel and dealer permit holders that, effective 
upon a specific date, the blueline tilefish commercial possession limit 
is reduced to 300 lb (136 kg) of gutted blueline tilefish per trip in 
or from the Tilefish Management Unit.
    (ii) When 100 percent of the blueline tilefish commercial TAL will 
be landed, the Regional Administrator will publish a notice in the 
Federal Register notifying vessel and dealer permit holders that, 
effective upon a specific date, the blueline tilefish commercial 
fishery is closed for the remainder of the fishing year. No vessel may 
retain or land blueline tilefish in or from the Tilefish Management 
Unit after the announced closure date.
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  648.296, paragraph (b) introductory text is added to read 
as follows:


Sec.  648.296  Tilefish recreational possession limits and gear 
restrictions.

* * * * *
    (b) * * * The recreational blueline tilefish fishery is open May 1 
through October 31, and closed November 1 through April 30.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2019-01929 Filed 2-11-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P