Fisheries off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Fisheries; Amendment 6 to Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Authorization of Deep-Set Buoy Gear, 7323-7325 [2019-03493]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 42 / Monday, March 4, 2019 / Proposed Rules comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking. The Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, will send a copy of this notice of proposed rulemaking, including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA). 63. Paperwork Reduction Act. This document does not propose new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104–13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain any new or modified information collection burdens for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107–198. 64. Contact Person. For further information about this proceeding, please contact E. Alex Espinoza, FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, Competition Policy Division, Room 5– C211, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554, at (202) 418–0849, or alex.espinoza@fcc.gov. IV. Ordering Clauses 65. Accordingly, it is ordered, pursuant to sections 1, 4(i), 201(b), 227(e), 251(e) and 303 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 201(b), 227(e), 251(e) and 303, and Public Law 115–141, Div. P, Title V, section 503, 132 Stat. 348 that this notice of proposed rulemaking is adopted. 66. It is further ordered that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this notice of proposed rulemaking, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 64 Communications common carriers, Caller identification information, Telecommunications, Telephone. Federal Communications Commission. Katura Jackson, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary. Proposed Rules For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 64 as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Mar 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 PART 64—MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS 1. The authority citation for part 64 is revised to read as follows: ■ Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 201, 202, 218, 222, 225, 226, 227, 228, 251(e), 254(k), 403(b)(2)(B), (c), 616, 620, 1401–1473; Sec. 5103, Pub. L. 115–141, 132 Stat. 348. 2. Amend § 64.1600 by revising paragraphs (c) and (d) and adding paragraphs (m) through (o) to read as follows: ■ § 64.1600 Definitions. * * * * * (c) Caller identification information. The term ‘‘caller identification information’’ means information provided by a caller identification service regarding the telephone number of, or other information regarding the origination of, a call made using a voice service or a text message sent using a text messaging service. (d) Caller identification service. The term ‘‘caller identification service’’ means any service or device designed to provide the user of the service or device with the telephone number of, or other information regarding the origination of, a call made using a voice service or a text message sent using a text messaging service. * * * * * (m) Text message. The term ‘‘text message’’: (1) Means a message consisting of text, images, sounds, or other information that is transmitted to or from a device that is identified as the receiving or transmitting device by means of a 10-digit telephone number or N11 service code; (2) Includes a short message service (SMS) message, and a multimedia message service (MMS) message; and (3) Does not include: (i) A real-time, two-way voice or video communication; or (ii) A message sent over an IP-enabled messaging service to another user of the same messaging service, except a message described in paragraph (2) of this definition. (n) Text messaging service. The term ‘‘text messaging service’’ means a service that enables the transmission or receipt of a text message, including a service provided as part of or in connection with a voice service. (o) Voice service. The term ‘‘voice service’’: (1) Means any service that is interconnected with the public switched telephone network and that furnishes voice communications to an end user using resources from the North PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7323 American Numbering Plan or any successor to the North American Numbering Plan adopted by the Commission under section 251(e)(1); and (2) Includes transmissions from a telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to a telephone facsimile machine. ■ 3. Amend § 64.1604 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 64.1604 Prohibition on transmission of inaccurate or misleading caller identification information. (a) No person or entity in the United States, nor any person or entity outside the United States if the recipient is within the United States, shall, with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, knowingly cause, directly, or indirectly, any caller identification service to transmit or display misleading or inaccurate caller identification information in connection with any voice service or text messaging service. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–03721 Filed 3–1–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 300 [0648–XG791] Fisheries off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Fisheries; Amendment 6 to Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Authorization of Deep-Set Buoy Gear National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); announcement of public scoping period and request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) announce their intent to prepare an EIS, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, to analyze the potential short- and long-term impacts of the proposed action to authorize deep-set buoy gear under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP) on the human (biological, physical, social, and economic) environment. This notice of SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\04MRP1.SGM 04MRP1 7324 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 42 / Monday, March 4, 2019 / Proposed Rules intent to prepare an EIS invites interested parties to provide comments on alternatives to be considered in an EIS and to identify potential issues, concerns, and any reasonable additional alternatives that should be considered. DATES: Written comments on the scope of the analysis will be accepted through April 3, 2019. Written, faxed, or emailed comments must be received by 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on April 3, 2019. Public comments will also be accepted during a webinar scheduled for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. PDT, March 26, 2019. Please notify Lyle Enriquez (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, below) by March 19, 2019, if you plan to attend the webinar. Instructions for connecting or calling into the webinar will be emailed to meeting participants. Accommodations for persons with disabilities are available; accommodation requests should be directed to Lyle Enriquez at least 10 working days prior to the webinar. Additionally, please note that public scoping for this proposed action will continue through regular meetings of the Council and its advisory bodies (see: http://www.pcouncil.org/counciloperations/council-meetings/futuremeetings/). ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the scope of this EIS by any 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-20190015 2. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and 3. Enter or attach your comments. —OR— • Mail: Submit written comments to Lyle.Enriquez@noaa.gov, NMFS West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802. Include the identifier ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2019–0015’’ in the comments. Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure they are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. 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. All comments received 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.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Mar 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Copies of this document can be obtained from http:// www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA– NMFS–2019–0015, or by contacting NMFS West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802, or WCR.HMS@ noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lyle Enriquez, NMFS, 562–980–4025, Lyle.Enriquez@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background After a series of initial research and exempted fishing permit trials of deepset buoy gear, (including both standard and linked configurations) the Council decided to consider authorizing the gear to be fished in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the U.S. west coast under the HMS FMP. The initial trials indicate that this innovative gear-type has infrequent protected species (including sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds) interactions and finfish bycatch, and it may contribute to an economically viable U.S. west coast swordfish fishery. Currently, only two other fishing gears are authorized for targeting swordfish in the EEZ off the U.S. west coast: Harpoon and drift gillnet. Participation in the drift gillnet fleet has declined considerably over the last two decades, with between 17 and 23 vessels delivering swordfish landings to U.S. west coast ports each year since 2014. Fewer than 21 harpoon vessels made landings each year since 2014. The harpoon fishery has historically been a low-volume fishery compared to the drift gillnet fishery. Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action The purpose and need as determined by the Council during its November 2018 meeting are as follows: • The purpose of the proposed action is to authorize the use of deep-set buoy gear as an additional fishing gear in the U.S. west coast commercial swordfish fishery that minimizes bycatch and incidental mortality of finfish and protected species (including sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds) to the extent practicable while maximizing the potential for an economically viable fishery. • The proposed action is needed to authorize deep-set buoy gear as a new gear type as a component of a U.S. west PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 coast swordfish fishery that effectively addresses the 10 National Standards (NS) for Conservation and Management included in the Magnuson Stevens Act, Section 301, in particular NS One (optimum yield) and Nine (minimize bycatch). Deep-Set Buoy Gear Configurations and Operations Deep-set buoy gear is an umbrella term referring to two distinct gear configurations. These configurations include standard buoy gear and linked buoy gear. An individual piece of standard buoy gear consists of a vertical monofilament mainline suspended from a buoy-array with a terminal weight. Up to three gangions with hooks may be attached to the mainline at a minimum depth of 90 meters (295 feet). An individual piece of linked buoy gear consists of a monofilament mainline which extends vertically from a buoyarray (either directly or from a minimum 50 foot poly-line extender) to a weight; then horizontally to a second weight; then vertically to a minimum 50 foot poly-line extender attached to a second buoy-array. Up to three gangions with hooks may be connected to each horizontal section of the mainline, all of which must be fished below 90 meters. The pieces may be linked together by the mainline, which is serviceable between each piece of linked buoy gear and must be suspended between links below a depth of 50 feet. No more than 10 sections of linked buoy gear may be deployed at any one time, with no more than three hooks per section. Both configurations include the following specifications and operational criteria: • The surface buoy flotation and strike detection array must consist of a minimum of three buoys (a minimum 45 pound buoyancy non-compressible hard ball, a minimum 6 pound buoyancy buoy, and a strike detection buoy), with no more than six feet of line between adjacent buoys, all connected in-line by a minimum of 3⁄8 inch diameter line and no use of buoy tether attachments (e.g., non-streamlined gear with loops and/or dangling components). Standard and terminal linked buoy-arrays must include a locator flag, a radar reflector, and vessel/fisher identification compliant with all current state requirements and regulations; • Weights must be a minimum of 3.6 kilograms; • Lines connecting surface buoys must be at least 3⁄8 of an inch in diameter; • Minimum size 16/0 circle hooks with not more than 10° offset; E:\FR\FM\04MRP1.SGM 04MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 42 / Monday, March 4, 2019 / Proposed Rules • A vessel may deploy no more than ten pieces of standard or linked buoy gear one time, with no more than three hooks per piece; • All pieces of gear must remain within a five nautical mile diameter circle and the vessel may be no more than three nautical miles from the nearest piece of gear. These specifications allow for active tending; • Gear must be deployed prior to local sunrise and onboard the vessel no later than three hours after local sunset; • Gear types other than deep-set buoy gear may be used on the same trip when deep-set buoy gear is used as long as the deep-set buoy gear is actively tended. This limits the gears with which fishermen could concurrently fish with deep-set buoy gear and maintain maneuverability to allow for active tending or staying within the active tending boundary or both. Other gears may be set and retrieved on the way out to and returning from sea, and deep-set buoy gear fished and actively tended in between, potentially at a large distance from the other gear. Alternatives A detailed description of the alternatives adopted by the Council on November 7, 2018, can be found here: https://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/ uploads/2019/02/J1a_NMFS_Rpt1_ MAR2019BB.pdf. The following description summarizes the scope of the alternatives currently being considered by NMFS and the Council. The range of alternatives that the Council adopted includes a No Action Alternative and two action alternatives (i.e., Alternative 1 and Alternative 2). The action area encompasses the U.S. west coast EEZ between the Mexico/United States border to the South and the Oregon/ Washington border to the North. Alternative 1 is to authorize deep-set buoy gear under an open access permit. Alternative 2 is to authorize the gear as an open access permit for the action area, except for an area off of Southern VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Mar 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 California East of 120°28′18″ W longitude, which would be authorized through a limited entry permit or endorsement. The Council advised analyzing the impacts of authorizing up to 500 permits under each action alternative. Under Alternative 2, the Council adopted five sub-options pertaining to the number and timing of limited entry permits to be issued in the Southern California Bight. These options are as follows: 1. Not more than 25 permits per year, not to exceed 300 total; 2. Not more than 50 permits per year, not to exceed 300 total; 3. Not more than 100 permits per year, not to exceed 300 total; 4. Not more than 300 permits maximum; and 5. Up to 50 permits issued in the first permit year, and up to 25 permits issued annually in subsequent years until either (a) a maximum of 300 permits are issued, (b) NMFS determines less than 300 are necessary to ensure compliance with the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act, or (c) the Council recommends to NMFS that less than 300 permits are necessary to meet stakeholder needs. The Council selected Alternative 2, Option 5 as its preliminary preferred alternative (PPA) on November 7, 2018. On November 7, 2018, the Council also selected a range of options for limited entry qualifying criteria (i.e., including ranked criteria for some options) for limited entry permits to be issued under Alternative 2. These options would assign higher permit issuance priority to persons with demonstrated swordfish fishing experience or permit possession history. Once priority-ranked permits are issued under these options, any remaining permits would be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues A principal objective of the scoping and public input process is to identify PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 7325 potentially significant impacts to the human environment that should be analyzed in depth in the EIS. Information and analysis prepared for this action also may be used for scoping future swordfish harvest and management measure actions to help decide whether to prepare an Environmental Assessment or EIS. Public Scoping Process Public scoping occurs throughout the Council’s decision-making process. All decisions during the Council process benefit from written and oral public comments delivered prior to or during Council meetings. These public comments are integral to scoping for developing this EIS. The Council began considering the proposed action at their March 2016 meeting, and they developed a range of alternatives during their June 2016, March 2017, and June 2018 meetings. During the November 2018 meeting, the Council adopted a final range of alternatives, including qualifying criteria for limited entry program options, and selected a preliminary preferred alternative. Council meetings in 2019 that offer additional opportunities for public involvement include: The March 5–12 meeting in Vancouver, Washington (Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W Sixth Street, Vancouver, WA 98660), and the June 18–25 meeting in San Diego, California (Doubletree by Hilton San Diego (7450 Hazard Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92108). For further information on these meetings, visit the Council’s website, http:// www.pcouncil.org/council-operations/ council-meetings/future-meetings/. Dated: February 22, 2019. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–03493 Filed 3–1–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\04MRP1.SGM 04MRP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 42 (Monday, March 4, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7323-7325]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-03493]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[0648-XG791]


Fisheries off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Fisheries; 
Amendment 6 to Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries 
for Highly Migratory Species; Authorization of Deep-Set Buoy Gear

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

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS); announcement of public scoping period and request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) 
announce their intent to prepare an EIS, in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, to analyze the 
potential short- and long-term impacts of the proposed action to 
authorize deep-set buoy gear under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. 
West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP) on the 
human (biological, physical, social, and economic) environment. This 
notice of

[[Page 7324]]

intent to prepare an EIS invites interested parties to provide comments 
on alternatives to be considered in an EIS and to identify potential 
issues, concerns, and any reasonable additional alternatives that 
should be considered.

DATES: Written comments on the scope of the analysis will be accepted 
through April 3, 2019. Written, faxed, or emailed comments must be 
received by 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on April 3, 2019. Public 
comments will also be accepted during a webinar scheduled for 1 p.m. to 
3 p.m. PDT, March 26, 2019. Please notify Lyle Enriquez (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, below) by March 19, 2019, if you plan to 
attend the webinar. Instructions for connecting or calling into the 
webinar will be emailed to meeting participants. Accommodations for 
persons with disabilities are available; accommodation requests should 
be directed to Lyle Enriquez at least 10 working days prior to the 
webinar. Additionally, please note that public scoping for this 
proposed action will continue through regular meetings of the Council 
and its advisory bodies (see: http://www.pcouncil.org/council-operations/council-meetings/future-meetings/).

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the scope of this EIS by any 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-2019-0015
    2. Click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, 
and
    3. Enter or attach your comments.

--OR--

     Mail: Submit written comments to Lyle.Enriquez@noaa.gov, 
NMFS West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 
4200, Long Beach, CA 90802. Include the identifier ``NOAA-NMFS-2019-
0015'' in the comments.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure they are received, documented, and considered by 
NMFS. 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. All comments received 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.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept 
anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to 
remain anonymous).
    Copies of this document can be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA-NMFS-2019-0015, or by contacting NMFS 
West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, 
Long Beach, CA 90802, or WCR.HMS@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lyle Enriquez, NMFS, 562-980-4025, 
Lyle.Enriquez@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    After a series of initial research and exempted fishing permit 
trials of deep-set buoy gear, (including both standard and linked 
configurations) the Council decided to consider authorizing the gear to 
be fished in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the U.S. west coast 
under the HMS FMP. The initial trials indicate that this innovative 
gear-type has infrequent protected species (including sea turtles, 
marine mammals, and seabirds) interactions and finfish bycatch, and it 
may contribute to an economically viable U.S. west coast swordfish 
fishery. Currently, only two other fishing gears are authorized for 
targeting swordfish in the EEZ off the U.S. west coast: Harpoon and 
drift gillnet. Participation in the drift gillnet fleet has declined 
considerably over the last two decades, with between 17 and 23 vessels 
delivering swordfish landings to U.S. west coast ports each year since 
2014. Fewer than 21 harpoon vessels made landings each year since 2014. 
The harpoon fishery has historically been a low-volume fishery compared 
to the drift gillnet fishery.

Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action

    The purpose and need as determined by the Council during its 
November 2018 meeting are as follows:
     The purpose of the proposed action is to authorize the use 
of deep-set buoy gear as an additional fishing gear in the U.S. west 
coast commercial swordfish fishery that minimizes bycatch and 
incidental mortality of finfish and protected species (including sea 
turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds) to the extent practicable while 
maximizing the potential for an economically viable fishery.
     The proposed action is needed to authorize deep-set buoy 
gear as a new gear type as a component of a U.S. west coast swordfish 
fishery that effectively addresses the 10 National Standards (NS) for 
Conservation and Management included in the Magnuson Stevens Act, 
Section 301, in particular NS One (optimum yield) and Nine (minimize 
bycatch).

Deep-Set Buoy Gear Configurations and Operations

    Deep-set buoy gear is an umbrella term referring to two distinct 
gear configurations. These configurations include standard buoy gear 
and linked buoy gear. An individual piece of standard buoy gear 
consists of a vertical monofilament mainline suspended from a buoy-
array with a terminal weight. Up to three gangions with hooks may be 
attached to the mainline at a minimum depth of 90 meters (295 feet). An 
individual piece of linked buoy gear consists of a monofilament 
mainline which extends vertically from a buoy-array (either directly or 
from a minimum 50 foot poly-line extender) to a weight; then 
horizontally to a second weight; then vertically to a minimum 50 foot 
poly-line extender attached to a second buoy-array. Up to three 
gangions with hooks may be connected to each horizontal section of the 
mainline, all of which must be fished below 90 meters. The pieces may 
be linked together by the mainline, which is serviceable between each 
piece of linked buoy gear and must be suspended between links below a 
depth of 50 feet. No more than 10 sections of linked buoy gear may be 
deployed at any one time, with no more than three hooks per section.
    Both configurations include the following specifications and 
operational criteria:
     The surface buoy flotation and strike detection array must 
consist of a minimum of three buoys (a minimum 45 pound buoyancy non-
compressible hard ball, a minimum 6 pound buoyancy buoy, and a strike 
detection buoy), with no more than six feet of line between adjacent 
buoys, all connected in-line by a minimum of \3/8\ inch diameter line 
and no use of buoy tether attachments (e.g., non-streamlined gear with 
loops and/or dangling components). Standard and terminal linked buoy-
arrays must include a locator flag, a radar reflector, and vessel/
fisher identification compliant with all current state requirements and 
regulations;
     Weights must be a minimum of 3.6 kilograms;
     Lines connecting surface buoys must be at least \3/8\ of 
an inch in diameter;
     Minimum size 16/0 circle hooks with not more than 10[deg] 
offset;

[[Page 7325]]

     A vessel may deploy no more than ten pieces of standard or 
linked buoy gear one time, with no more than three hooks per piece;
     All pieces of gear must remain within a five nautical mile 
diameter circle and the vessel may be no more than three nautical miles 
from the nearest piece of gear. These specifications allow for active 
tending;
     Gear must be deployed prior to local sunrise and onboard 
the vessel no later than three hours after local sunset;
     Gear types other than deep-set buoy gear may be used on 
the same trip when deep-set buoy gear is used as long as the deep-set 
buoy gear is actively tended. This limits the gears with which 
fishermen could concurrently fish with deep-set buoy gear and maintain 
maneuverability to allow for active tending or staying within the 
active tending boundary or both. Other gears may be set and retrieved 
on the way out to and returning from sea, and deep-set buoy gear fished 
and actively tended in between, potentially at a large distance from 
the other gear.

Alternatives

    A detailed description of the alternatives adopted by the Council 
on November 7, 2018, can be found here: https://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/J1a_NMFS_Rpt1_MAR2019BB.pdf. The following 
description summarizes the scope of the alternatives currently being 
considered by NMFS and the Council. The range of alternatives that the 
Council adopted includes a No Action Alternative and two action 
alternatives (i.e., Alternative 1 and Alternative 2). The action area 
encompasses the U.S. west coast EEZ between the Mexico/United States 
border to the South and the Oregon/Washington border to the North. 
Alternative 1 is to authorize deep-set buoy gear under an open access 
permit. Alternative 2 is to authorize the gear as an open access permit 
for the action area, except for an area off of Southern California East 
of 120[deg]28'18'' W longitude, which would be authorized through a 
limited entry permit or endorsement. The Council advised analyzing the 
impacts of authorizing up to 500 permits under each action alternative.
    Under Alternative 2, the Council adopted five sub-options 
pertaining to the number and timing of limited entry permits to be 
issued in the Southern California Bight. These options are as follows:
    1. Not more than 25 permits per year, not to exceed 300 total;
    2. Not more than 50 permits per year, not to exceed 300 total;
    3. Not more than 100 permits per year, not to exceed 300 total;
    4. Not more than 300 permits maximum; and
    5. Up to 50 permits issued in the first permit year, and up to 25 
permits issued annually in subsequent years until either (a) a maximum 
of 300 permits are issued, (b) NMFS determines less than 300 are 
necessary to ensure compliance with the Endangered Species Act and 
Marine Mammal Protection Act, or (c) the Council recommends to NMFS 
that less than 300 permits are necessary to meet stakeholder needs.
    The Council selected Alternative 2, Option 5 as its preliminary 
preferred alternative (PPA) on November 7, 2018. On November 7, 2018, 
the Council also selected a range of options for limited entry 
qualifying criteria (i.e., including ranked criteria for some options) 
for limited entry permits to be issued under Alternative 2. These 
options would assign higher permit issuance priority to persons with 
demonstrated swordfish fishing experience or permit possession history. 
Once priority-ranked permits are issued under these options, any 
remaining permits would be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues

    A principal objective of the scoping and public input process is to 
identify potentially significant impacts to the human environment that 
should be analyzed in depth in the EIS. Information and analysis 
prepared for this action also may be used for scoping future swordfish 
harvest and management measure actions to help decide whether to 
prepare an Environmental Assessment or EIS.

Public Scoping Process

    Public scoping occurs throughout the Council's decision-making 
process. All decisions during the Council process benefit from written 
and oral public comments delivered prior to or during Council meetings. 
These public comments are integral to scoping for developing this EIS. 
The Council began considering the proposed action at their March 2016 
meeting, and they developed a range of alternatives during their June 
2016, March 2017, and June 2018 meetings. During the November 2018 
meeting, the Council adopted a final range of alternatives, including 
qualifying criteria for limited entry program options, and selected a 
preliminary preferred alternative. Council meetings in 2019 that offer 
additional opportunities for public involvement include: The March 5-12 
meeting in Vancouver, Washington (Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W 
Sixth Street, Vancouver, WA 98660), and the June 18-25 meeting in San 
Diego, California (Doubletree by Hilton San Diego (7450 Hazard Center 
Drive, San Diego, CA 92108). For further information on these meetings, 
visit the Council's website, http://www.pcouncil.org/council-operations/council-meetings/future-meetings/.

    Dated: February 22, 2019.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-03493 Filed 3-1-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P