Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 7302-7303 [2019-03816]

Download as PDF 7302 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 42 / Monday, March 4, 2019 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 180117042–8884–02] RIN 0648–XG810 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure of the General category January fishery for 2019. AGENCY: NMFS closes the General category fishery for large medium and giant (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater) Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) for the January subquota time period and thus until the General category reopens on June 1, 2019. The intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the available General category January 2019 BFT subquota of 100 metric tons (mt). DATES: Effective 11:30 p.m., local time, February 28, 2019, through May 31, 2019. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Uriah Forest-Bulley, 978–675–2154, Sarah McLaughlin, 978–281–9260, or Larry Redd, 301–420–8503. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006) and amendments. NMFS is required, under § 635.28(a)(1), to file a closure notice with the Office of the Federal Register for publication when a BFT quota (or subquota) is reached or is projected to be reached. On and after the effective date and time of such notification, for the remainder of the fishing year or for VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:21 Mar 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 a specified period as indicated in the notification, retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that quota category is prohibited until the opening of the subsequent quota period or until such date as specified in the notice. The base quota for the General category is 555.7 mt. See § 635.27(a). Each of the General category time periods (January, June through August, September, October through November, and December) is allocated a subquota or portion of the annual General category quota. Although it is called the ‘‘January’’ subquota, the regulations allow the General category fishery under this quota to continue until the subquota is reached or March 31, whichever comes first. The baseline subquotas for each time period are as follows: 29.5 mt for January; 277.9 mt for June through August; 147.3 mt for September; 72.2 mt for October through November; and 28.9 mt for December. Any unused General category quota rolls forward from one time period to the next and is available for use in subsequent time periods within the fishing year. Effective January 1, 2019, NMFS transferred 19.5 mt of the 28.9mt General category quota allocated for the December 2019 period to the January 2019 period, resulting in an adjusted subquota of 49 mt for the January period and a subquota of 9.4 mt for the December 2019 period (83 FR 67140, December 28, 2018). Effective February 8, 2019, NMFS transferred 26 mt from the Reserve category to the General category January 2019 subquota period, resulting in an adjusted subquota of 75 mt for the January period and 3.5 mt for the Reserve category (84 FR 3724, February 13, 2019). Effective February 25, 2019, NMFS transferred an additional 25 mt from the Reserve category to the General category, in the same notice as NMFS made the annual reallocation of Purse Seine category quota to the Reserve category, resulting in an adjusted subquota of 100 mt for the General category 2019 January subquota period and 143 mt for the Reserve category (FR document 2019– 03554 filed for public inspection, February 25, 2019). Based on the best available landings information for the General category BFT fishery, NMFS has determined that the adjusted General category January 2019 subquota of 100 mt has been reached (i.e., as of February 27, reported landings total approximately 97 mt) and that the General category fishery should be closed. Therefore, retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General category and the HMS Charter/Headboat PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 category (while fishing commercially) must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on February 28, 2019. The General category will reopen automatically on June 1, 2019, for the June through August 2019. This action applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and HMS Charter/ Headboat category permitted vessels with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT and is taken consistent with the regulations at § 635.28(a)(1). The intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the available January subquota. Fishermen may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-andrelease and tag-and-release programs at § 635.26. All BFT that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at § 635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the ‘‘Careful Catch and Release’’ brochure available at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/ outreach-and-education/careful-catchand-release-brochure/. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS’ ability to timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872–8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional adjustments are necessary to ensure available subquotas are not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information E:\FR\FM\04MRR1.SGM 04MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 42 / Monday, March 4, 2019 / Rules and Regulations Line at (978) 281–9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments and fishery closures to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. These fisheries are currently underway and delaying this action would be contrary to the public interest as it could result in BFT landings further exceeding the January subquota, which could result in the need to reduce quota for the General category later in the year and thus could affect later fishing opportunities. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under § 635.28(a)(1) (BFT fishery closures), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: February 27, 2019. Karen H. Abrams, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–03816 Filed 2–27–19; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 170816769–8162–02] RIN 0648–XG845 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Greater Than or Equal to 50 Feet Length Overall Using Hookand-Line Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:21 Mar 01, 2019 Jkt 247001 NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 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 vessels greater than or equal to 50 feet LOA using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 27, 2019, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10, 2019. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907–586–7228. NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. Regulations governing sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR part 680. The A season allowance of the 2019 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to catcher vessels greater than or equal to 50 feet LOA using hookand-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 319 metric tons (mt), as established by the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (83 FR 8768, March 1, 2018). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season allowance of the 2019 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to catcher vessels greater than or equal to 50 feet LOA using hookand-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 259 mt and is setting aside the remaining 60 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 7303 Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 50 feet LOA using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. While this closure is effective the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip. Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the directed fishing closure of Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 50 feet LOA using hookand-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of February 26, 2019. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment. This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 27, 2019. Karen H. Abrams, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–03813 Filed 2–27–19; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\04MRR1.SGM 04MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 42 (Monday, March 4, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 7302-7303]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-03816]



[[Page 7302]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 180117042-8884-02]
RIN 0648-XG810


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure of the General category January fishery 
for 2019.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS closes the General category fishery for large medium and 
giant (i.e., measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater) 
Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) for the January subquota time period and 
thus until the General category reopens on June 1, 2019. The intent of 
this closure is to prevent overharvest of the available General 
category January 2019 BFT subquota of 100 metric tons (mt).

DATES: Effective 11:30 p.m., local time, February 28, 2019, through May 
31, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Uriah Forest-Bulley, 978-675-2154, 
Sarah McLaughlin, 978-281-9260, or Larry Redd, 301-420-8503.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory 
Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 
58058, October 2, 2006) and amendments.
    NMFS is required, under Sec.  635.28(a)(1), to file a closure 
notice with the Office of the Federal Register for publication when a 
BFT quota (or subquota) is reached or is projected to be reached. On 
and after the effective date and time of such notification, for the 
remainder of the fishing year or for a specified period as indicated in 
the notification, retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that 
quota category is prohibited until the opening of the subsequent quota 
period or until such date as specified in the notice.
    The base quota for the General category is 555.7 mt. See Sec.  
635.27(a). Each of the General category time periods (January, June 
through August, September, October through November, and December) is 
allocated a subquota or portion of the annual General category quota. 
Although it is called the ``January'' subquota, the regulations allow 
the General category fishery under this quota to continue until the 
subquota is reached or March 31, whichever comes first. The baseline 
subquotas for each time period are as follows: 29.5 mt for January; 
277.9 mt for June through August; 147.3 mt for September; 72.2 mt for 
October through November; and 28.9 mt for December. Any unused General 
category quota rolls forward from one time period to the next and is 
available for use in subsequent time periods within the fishing year. 
Effective January 1, 2019, NMFS transferred 19.5 mt of the 28.9-mt 
General category quota allocated for the December 2019 period to the 
January 2019 period, resulting in an adjusted subquota of 49 mt for the 
January period and a subquota of 9.4 mt for the December 2019 period 
(83 FR 67140, December 28, 2018). Effective February 8, 2019, NMFS 
transferred 26 mt from the Reserve category to the General category 
January 2019 subquota period, resulting in an adjusted subquota of 75 
mt for the January period and 3.5 mt for the Reserve category (84 FR 
3724, February 13, 2019). Effective February 25, 2019, NMFS transferred 
an additional 25 mt from the Reserve category to the General category, 
in the same notice as NMFS made the annual reallocation of Purse Seine 
category quota to the Reserve category, resulting in an adjusted 
subquota of 100 mt for the General category 2019 January subquota 
period and 143 mt for the Reserve category (FR document 2019-03554 
filed for public inspection, February 25, 2019).
    Based on the best available landings information for the General 
category BFT fishery, NMFS has determined that the adjusted General 
category January 2019 subquota of 100 mt has been reached (i.e., as of 
February 27, reported landings total approximately 97 mt) and that the 
General category fishery should be closed. Therefore, retaining, 
possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard 
vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General category and the HMS 
Charter/Headboat category (while fishing commercially) must cease at 
11:30 p.m. local time on February 28, 2019. The General category will 
reopen automatically on June 1, 2019, for the June through August 2019. 
This action applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) 
permitted vessels and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels 
with a commercial sale endorsement when fishing commercially for BFT 
and is taken consistent with the regulations at Sec.  635.28(a)(1). The 
intent of this closure is to prevent overharvest of the available 
January subquota.
    Fishermen may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all 
sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-
and-release programs at Sec.  635.26. All BFT that are released must be 
handled in a manner that will maximize their survival, and without 
removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at Sec.  
635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the 
``Careful Catch and Release'' brochure available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/outreach-and-education/careful-catch-and-release-brochure/.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fisheries closely. Dealers 
are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer 
receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS' ability to 
timely implement actions such as quota and retention limit adjustment, 
as well as closures, and may result in enforcement actions. 
Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, 
General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessel owners are required to 
report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours 
of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing 
hmspermits.noaa.gov, using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling 
(888) 872-8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.).
    Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, 
NMFS may determine that additional adjustments are necessary to ensure 
available subquotas are not exceeded or to enhance scientific data 
collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If 
needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal 
Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas 
Information

[[Page 7303]]

Line at (978) 281-9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on 
quota monitoring and inseason adjustments.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and 
amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments and fishery 
closures to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on 
the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the 
regional variations in the BFT fishery. These fisheries are currently 
underway and delaying this action would be contrary to the public 
interest as it could result in BFT landings further exceeding the 
January subquota, which could result in the need to reduce quota for 
the General category later in the year and thus could affect later 
fishing opportunities. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 
U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public 
comment. For all of the above reasons, there is good cause under 5 
U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec.  635.28(a)(1) (BFT fishery 
closures), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: February 27, 2019.
Karen H. Abrams,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-03816 Filed 2-27-19; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P