Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; 2019 and 2020 Sector Operations Plans and 2019 Allocation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Entitlements, 8282-8294 [2019-04141]

Download as PDF amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS 8282 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules. 27. Filing Comments and Replies— Pursuant to §§ 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.415 and 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998). • Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss. fcc.gov/ecfs2/. • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. • All hand-delivered or messengerdelivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th Street SW, TW–A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 • Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. • U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. 28. Availability of Documents— Comments, reply comments, and ex parte submissions will be available for public inspection during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW, CY– A257, Washington, DC 20554. These documents will also be available via ECFS. Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. 29. People with Disabilities—To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418–0530 (voice), (202) 418–0432 (TTY). 30. It is ordered that, pursuant to the authority found in sections 1, 4(i), 4(j), 325, 338, 624A, 631, 632, and 653 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 154(j), 325, 338, 544a, 551, 552, and 573 this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is adopted. 31. It is further ordered that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analyses, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. Federal Communications Commission. Marlene Dortch, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2019–04142 Filed 3–6–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 190205076–9168–01] RIN 0648–BI71 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; 2019 and 2020 Sector Operations Plans and 2019 Allocation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Entitlements National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: We propose to approve Northeast multispecies sector operations plans and grant regulatory exemptions for fishing years 2019 and 2020, approve the formation of a new sector, and provide preliminary annual catch entitlements to approved sectors for fishing year 2019. Approval of sector operations plans and contracts is necessary to allocate annual catch entitlements to the sectors and for the sectors to operate. This action is intended to allow limited access permit holders to form sectors, as authorized under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, and to exempt them from certain effort control regulations to improve the efficiency and economics of sector vessels. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before March 22, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2018–0139, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20180139, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Claire Fitz-Gerald, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. 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 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 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules 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). Copies of each sector’s final operations plan and contract are available from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office: Michael Pentony, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. These documents are also accessible via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS Claire Fitz-Gerald, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281–9255. To review Federal Register documents referenced in this rule, you can visit: http:// www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainable/species/multispecies. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) defines a sector as ‘‘[a] group of persons (three or more persons, none of whom have an ownership interest in the other two persons in the sector) holding limited access vessel permits who have voluntarily entered into a contract and agree to certain fishing restrictions for a specified period of time, and which has been granted a TAC(s) [sic] in order to achieve objectives consistent with applicable FMP goals and objectives.’’ Sectors are self-selecting, meaning each sector can choose its members. The Northeast multispecies sector management system allocates a portion of the Northeast multispecies stocks to each sector. These annual sector allocations are known as annual catch entitlements (ACE) and are based on the collective fishing history of a sector’s members. Sectors may receive allocations of large-mesh Northeast multispecies stocks with the exception of Atlantic halibut, windowpane flounder, Atlantic wolffish, and ocean pout, which are non-allocated species managed under separate effort controls. ACEs are portions of a stock’s annual catch limit (ACL) available to commercial Northeast multispecies vessels. A sector determines how to harvest its ACE. Because sectors elect to receive an allocation under a quota-based system, the FMP grants sector vessels several ‘‘universal’’ exemptions from the FMP’s effort controls. These universal VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 exemptions apply to: Trip limits on allocated stocks; Northeast multispecies days-at-sea (DAS) restrictions; the requirement to use a 6.5-inch (16.5-cm) mesh codend when fishing with selective gear on Georges Bank (GB); portions of the Gulf of Maine (GOM) Cod Protection Closures; and the at-sea monitoring (ASM) coverage requirement for sector vessels fishing exclusively in the Southern New England (SNE) and Inshore GB Broad Stock Areas (BSA) with extra-large mesh gillnets (10-inch [25.4-cm] or greater). The FMP prohibits sectors from requesting exemptions from permitting restrictions, gear restrictions designed to minimize habitat impacts, and most reporting requirements. In addition to the approved sectors, there are several state-operated permit banks, which receive allocations based on the history of the permits owned by the states. The final rule implementing Amendment 17 to the FMP allowed a state-operated permit bank to receive an allocation without needing to comply with the administrative and procedural requirements for sectors (77 FR 16942; March 23, 2012). Instead, permit banks are required to submit a list of participating permits to us, as specified in the permit bank’s Memorandum of Agreement, to determine the ACE allocated to the permit bank. These allocations may be leased to fishermen enrolled in sectors. Although stateoperated permit banks are no longer approved through the sector approval process, they are included in this discussion of allocations because they contribute to the total allocation under the sector system. We received operations plans and preliminary contracts for fishing years 2019 and 2020 from 20 sectors. The operations plans are similar to operations plans and contracts previously approved for prior fishing years. We have made a preliminary determination that the 20 sector operations plans and contracts that we received, and the 19 regulatory exemptions requested, are consistent with the FMP’s goals and objectives, and meet sector requirements outlined in the regulations at § 648.87. Copies of the operations plans and contracts, and the environmental assessment (EA), are available at: http://www.regulations.gov and from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). Default Catch Limits for Fishing Year 2019 Last year, Framework 57 set fishing year 2019 catch limits for all groundfish stocks (83 FR 18985; May 1, 2018). The 2019 catch limits for most stocks remain the same as, or similar, to 2018 limits. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 8283 Framework 57 did not, however, specify a 2019 catch limit for Eastern GB cod. Eastern GB cod is a management unit of the GB cod stock that is jointly managed with Canada, and the shared quota is set annually. This year, in Framework 58, the Council adopted revised 2019 catch limits for GB cod, GB haddock, GB yellowtail, witch flounder, GB winter flounder, GOM winter flounder, and Atlantic halibut. We are working to publish a proposed rule to request comments on the Framework 58 measures. Due to the 35-day Federal government shutdown resulting from a lapse in appropriations, there will be a delay in the rulemaking process for Framework 58, and it will not be possible to implement these measures in time for May 1, 2019. As a result, this rule announces the 2019 catch limits set in Framework 57 that would be effective on May 1, 2019, including preliminary sector and common pool allocations based on final 2018 fishing year rosters (Table 1). If Framework 58 is approved, the 2019 catch limits announced in this rule for GB cod, GB haddock, GB yellowtail, witch flounder, GB winter flounder, GOM winter flounder, and Atlantic halibut will change. This rule also sets a default catch limit for Eastern GB cod. The groundfish regulations require default catch limits for any stock for which final specifications are not in place by the beginning of the fishing year on May 1. The FMP’s default specifications provision sets catch at 35 percent of the previous year’s (2018) catch limits beginning on May 1 through July 31, or until the final rule for Framework 58 is implemented if prior to July 31. In Framework 58, the Council recommended a total ACL of 103 mt for GB yellowtail flounder in fishing year 2019. This is a 64-percent decrease from the fishing year 2019 ACL previously set in Framework 57, and a 50-percent decrease from the fishing year 2018 ACL. The Council also revised the fishing year 2019 ACL for GB cod to 1,741 mt. This a 14-percent increase from the fishing year 2018 ACL, but a 20-percent decrease from the fishing year 2019 ACL previously set in Framework 57. The adjustments are based on the recommendation of the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee, which is the joint U.S./ Canada management body that meets annually to recommend shared quotas for the three transboundary stocks. These recommendations will be further discussed in the Framework 58 proposed rule. We are highlighting these changes in this rule because the GB E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 8284 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules ACE for these stocks will be reduced when Framework 58 is implemented. Framework 58 would also adjust the GOM cod catch limits for commercial groundfish vessels. The sector sub-ACL for GOM cod would be reduced by 28.8 yellowtail flounder and GB cod sector allocations proposed in this rule are based on the higher 2019 catch limits previously approved in Framework 57. If the Council’s recommended catch limits become final with no changes, mt for fishing year 2019. This adjustment is required because the total ACL was exceeded in fishing year 2017. Therefore, sectors’ ACE will be reduced when Framework 58 is implemented compared to their May 1 allocations. TABLE 1—NORTHEAST MULTISPECIES CATCH LIMITS FOR 2019 Stock Total ACL GB Cod * ........................... GOM Cod * ........................ GB Haddock * .................... GOM Haddock .................. GB Yellowtail Flounder * ... SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder .................................. CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder .................................. American Plaice ................ Witch Flounder * ................ GB Winter Flounder * ........ GOM Winter Flounder * ..... SNE/MA Winter Flounder .. Redfish .............................. White Hake ........................ Pollock ............................... N. Windowpane Flounder S. Windowpane Flounder .. Ocean Pout ....................... Atlantic Halibut * ................ Atlantic Wolffish ................. Groundfish sub-ACL Preliminary sector sub-ACL Preliminary common pool sub-ACL Recreational sub-ACL Midwater trawl fishery Scallop fishery Smallmesh fisheries State waters subcomponent Other subcomponent 1,519 666 46,312 11,803 291 1,360 610 44,659 11,506 239 1,333 378 44,340 8,219 235 28 12 319 93 4 ................ 220 ................ 3,194 ................ ................ ................ 680 116 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 47 ................ ................ ................ ................ 6 16 47 487 91 0 143 9 487 91 0 66 32 26 6 ................ ................ 15 ................ 2 17 490 1,532 948 787 428 700 11,208 2,794 38,204 86 457 120 100 84 398 1,467 849 731 357 518 10,972 2,735 37,400 63 53 94 77 82 381 1,442 831 725 339 456 10,921 2,715 37,170 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 17 26 18 6 18 62 51 21 230 63 53 94 77 82 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 18 158 ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ ................ 51 32 40 0 67 73 118 29 402 2 28 3 21 1 41 32 60 57 4 109 118 29 402 3 218 23 2 1 * Catch limit will be replaced when the final rule for Framework 58 becomes effective. Formation of a New Sector This action proposes to approve the formation of a new sector, Mooncusser Sector, for operation beginning in the 2019 fishing year. We have preliminarily determined that the sector operations plan and preliminary contract submitted by Mooncusser Sector contains the required provisions for operations. The request to form the sector went through the new approval process established in Framework 55 (81 FR 26412; May 2, 2016). As required by the FMP, we consulted with the New England Fishery Management Council on the formation of this new sector. At its January 2019 meeting, the Council reviewed the sector’s proposed operations plan and preliminary contract and recommended that we approve the new sector. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS Sector Allocations The sector allocations proposed in this rule are based on the 2019 catch limits established in Framework 57 and final fishing year 2018 sector rosters. Due to the 35-day partial Federal government shutdown resulting from a lack of appropriations, there was a delay in distributing the annual letter describing each vessel’s potential contribution to a sector’s quota for the upcoming fishing year, and the deadline to enroll in a sector is set for March 8, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 2019, although sectors may set a more restrictive deadline for their members. Thus, we are using fishing year 2018 rosters as a proxy for fishing year 2019 sector membership and to calculate the fishing year 2019 projected allocations in this proposed rule. Any permits that change ownership after December 1, 2018, retain the ability to join a sector through April 30, 2019. All permits enrolled in a sector, and the vessels associated with those permits, have until April 30, 2019, to withdraw from a sector and fish in the common pool for fishing year 2019. For fishing year 2020, we will set similar roster deadlines, notify permit holders of the fishing year 2020 deadlines, and allow permit holders to change sectors separate from the annual sector operations plans approval process. We calculate the sector’s allocation for each stock by summing its members’ potential sector contributions (PSC) for a stock and then multiplying that total percentage by the available commercial sub-ACL for that stock. Table 2 shows the projected total fishing year 2019 PSC by stock for the 18 sectors approved to operate in fishing year 2018 that submitted operations plans for 2019. Tables 3 and 4 show the initial allocations that each sector would be allocated for fishing year 2019 based on their final fishing year 2018 rosters. At PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the start of the 2019 fishing year, we provide final allocations, to the nearest pound, to each sector based on their final May 1 rosters. We use these final allocations, along with later adjustments for ACE transfers, reductions for overages, or increases for carryover from fishing year 2018, to monitor sector catch. We have included the common pool sub-ACLs in tables 2 through 4 for comparison. These tables do not represent the final allocations for the 2019 fishing year. Northeast Fishery Sector IX (NEFS 9) was approved for operation in fishing year 2018. However, NEFS 9 did not submit an operations plan and will not operate in fishing year 2019. As a result, NEFS 9 is not included in these tables and the permits enrolled in NEFS 9 for fishing year 2018 are excluded from tables 2 through 4. We expect the permits enrolled in NEFS 9 for fishing year 2018 to enroll in a different sector or join the common pool for fishing year 2019. ACE attributable to those permits will be allocated to whichever sector(s) those permits enroll in for 2019, or to the common pool. We also cannot calculate ACEs for the GB Cod Hook Gear and Mooncusser sectors until they submit their preliminary rosters. We do not have roster data for these sectors because they did not operate in fishing year 2018. GB E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS Cod Hook Gear and Mooncusser sectors’ 2019 rosters will include permits currently enrolled in other sectors or fishing in the common pool, and these two sectors’ final ACE allocations will be based on the PSC of their enrolled permits. We do not assign a permit separate PSCs for Eastern GB cod or Eastern GB haddock; instead, we assign each permit a PSC for the GB cod stock and GB haddock stock. Each sector’s GB cod and GB haddock allocations are then divided into an Eastern ACE and a Western ACE, based on each sector’s percentage of the GB cod and GB haddock ACLs. For example, if a sector is allocated 4 percent of the GB cod ACL and 6 percent of the GB haddock ACL, the sector is allocated 4 percent of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 commercial Eastern U.S./Canada Area GB cod total allowable catch (TAC) and 6 percent of the commercial Eastern U.S./Canada Area GB haddock TAC as its Eastern GB cod and haddock ACEs. These amounts are then subtracted from the sector’s overall GB cod and haddock allocations to determine its Western GB cod and haddock ACEs. A sector may only harvest its Eastern GB cod and haddock ACEs in the Eastern U.S./ Canada Area, but may ‘‘convert,’’ or transfer, its Eastern GB cod or haddock allocation into Western GB allocation and fish that converted ACE outside the Eastern GB area. At the start of fishing year 2019, we may withhold 20 percent of each sector’s fishing year 2019 allocation until we finalize fishing year 2018 catch PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 8285 information. We expect to finalize 2018 catch information in summer 2019. We will allow sectors to transfer fishing year 2018 ACE for 2 weeks upon our completion of year-end catch accounting to reduce or eliminate any fishing year 2018 overages. If necessary, we will reduce any sector’s fishing year 2019 allocation to account for a remaining overage in fishing year 2018. We will follow the same process for fishing year 2020. Each year of the operations plans, we will notify the Council and sector managers of this deadline in writing and will announce our final ACE determination on our website at: http://www.greateratlantic. fisheries.noaa.gov/. E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS 8286 VerDate Sep<11>2014 o'C I Fixed Gear ScctoriFGS . u~~ "'"' " " - - - 'C 0 ~ ill ""' ~ § £ "' .;; !§ ~ ~ = ~ ~ . 9 26177957 ~ ~ Jkt 247001 Coast Commmrity Sector PO 00000 NCCS Frm 00009 119 I 28.68839985 4.12625518 6.54866590 3.24603755 0.85333960 0 89967521 4.55799306 l 33165866 2.90000167 0.08257843 15.12261536 2.84414589 3.34953348 6.96250873 1.15765521 9.56287656 1.21605339 6.40985694 1.67932801 1 32362081 2.96730168 10.39289727 7.84365739 0.72808370 2.71794899 1.51750394 6.20232718 10.64421885 I 10.81953974 ll 0 13359766 1 15324184 0 04432773 1 12448491 0 01377700 0 03180706 0 31772260 1 16406980 0 72688210 0 00021716 0 42641581 0 01789059 0 82182550 1 65305822 1 69448029 30 0 17'i29CJ9?. 1 077160:1R 0 11:12177:1 CJ '57"529')00 0 OO'i'50GRR 0 21470121 0 'i"57:1'52Rl 0 11071 R90 0 14R'52014 0 020R:100"i 1 0277R490 0 11901160 0 4"i0011RO 0 82118992 0 47'50001 R 0.00000000 0.00036846 0.00000693 0 00000024 0.01033787 0 01351914 0.00234629 0.00000077 0.00401763 0.00000026 0.00000000 0.00000000 0 00003558 to 68919551 I 19.12197347 1.90723759 188486646 I 22.30345041 I 10.65024030 I 14.31713966 I 3.21694561 I 21.83006160 I 4.03301832 I 15.02294593 7.62113361 12.62453238 Maine 66 Mamc Permit Bank 1\EFS 1 1\EFS 2 1\EFS 3 1\EFS 4 1\EFS 5 Fmt 4702 1\EFS G 1\EFS 7 Sfmt 4725 1\EFS 8 0.00000000 0.02469769 6.24836053 I 21.39085200 38 I 0.34031184 I 6.99754109 0.02782884 I 4.64947475 0.00228686 000117388 I 3.49772953 I 074752457 I 0.59767457 I 0.00337750 51 I 4.16480360 I 10.62319132 5.35062798 I 8.61181488 2.16156194 226122424 I 6.05978122 25 I 0.4~0522~1 I O.lH554774 I D.0035"7lP5 1.2"7619540 21.07477407 I 23 I I 2.96260461 2.93199915 103 I E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM NEFS ll NE.FS 12 NEFS 13 3.01910742 I 0.29554691 I 0.57529987 2.06647596 2 73481092 I 8.70615590 I 0.69179850 I 6.95881763 I 0.86864063 I 6.72243130 8.08918995 6 35807286 0.20605~26 I 043243499 I 0.56259776 I 0.4363690~ I 0.01"753506 I 12.107~3~94 I 0.01454490 0.09444524 0 042503"77 I 3 ~9~25722 I I 1.510~451~ I I 1.967~~440 I 3.~4703~72 2.70263563 5 3o35~473 I 3.73"711540 I 5.31716915 3.916659~6 3 307:>5~91 11 26852074 I 7.40318927 25.51455363 8 53317090 I 10.56678060 I 9 61237901 I 9.33559754 I 33.29143002 I 2.94812549 I 17.56207910 I 9.05128922 6.37700021 6 34572004 0.56859828 13.69216769 7 87JI2608,1 I 11.825!J 1575 I 2 88087676 I 3.!111526 1159 I 21.620116936 I 2.92895959 I 10.137JI826I I 0.860821178 5.2102~~96 4.566 7 6~63 07MRP1 7.52!J69081 I 0.82300'111 7.2 11866512 1.0211808I2 I 0756610,1 0.03628597 0.00000000 0.02597655 0.00000000 0.0275501I 0 00000000 0.01I88565 0 OOI32I02 0.00000000 0.08836205 0.00000000 0.01078957 0.00000000 0.00000000 0 00074893 29 I 0.52579929 2.46705I88 I o.I7673207 1.2820II73 0.00114846 0 54787147 4.27769586 I 08I0954I 2.0460I615 0.01083152 9.10I45349 0.60102079 0.33489609 0.65458084 0 76311145 so I o 40522591 I2 45071140 I o 0372I984 3 08806809 0 00149970 0 OI949288 2 52206828 2 08I03409 I 98248023 0 00330849 2 13300702 0 02152272 I 96476192 4 728849I7 9 02442624 1R I 0 mR69CJ71 2 RO"iR'591 "'i I 0 09:17441 "'i 1 011"'i2490 0 00042909 0 01 049'124 7 R:11 "i97RO 0 "'i02R9"i07 0 "'i(i772907 0 00043898 I "'il@OR"'iR 021702BR 0 22071770 0 2R117217 0 77'511 ?.R2 0.90970919 I 20 11363366 1.05216166 34.49944104 21.02740370 8.84077703 8 48479097 9.29874478 1782190596 3.05173593 16.60359315 4.28319288 2.14963722 2 62058433 0.00082208 l.l43504l3 0.00003406 0.03234651 0.00002026 0 00001788 0.02179244 0 02847769 0.00615968 0.00000324 0.06067478 0.00003630 0.01940054 0.08129901 0 lll3l4l6 19 2.1026I792 3.14897265 2.39196971 3.86043539 0.96052938 0 08973562 3.13554444 482I91323 3.7I956670 5.7159374I 4.51028I79 0.54868599 4.2430I547 4.34623536 2 78878579 29 1.1565359~ 4.59"75027~ 0.~0~03729 3.24~06931 2.23449302 2 20056490 1.063l::2555 4 910~6902 3.0l307'llig 0.46607499 1.45130602 1.103~09::::5 3.73312912 7.136133~6 0 57699124 7 33823616 8.41660054 311 I KErs 9 NEFS 10 2.~~5~7:>~1 50 I 13.20690930 I 0.0006l:W19 I 4.02920616 I 938858551 62 I 12.1832!777 I New Hampstnre Permit Bank Sustainable Harvest Sector 1 Sustainable IIarvest Sector 2 ~ustainab1e Harvest Sector 3 Common Pool 62 I 15.92449024 I 499 I 2.02989154 7.60631203 29 36434222 I 29.14499485 I 3.04896442 I 0.71366064 I l.ll667657 l 0.94736882 I 1.51826234 25.67361864 I 23.40387578 13.46526402 I 19.30332244 I 4.27117314 I 176482273 I 2.16562617 I 0.81892736 4.63938301 I 4.93789247 17.27118672 I 36.33428831 I 30.59905750 I 21.98401454 I 11.93068915 I 0.46639478 I 0.75174622 *The data in this table are based on final fishing year 2018 sector rosters. The table does not provide an allocation for GB Cod Hook Gear and Mooncusser, which did not operate in 2018. The table excludes permits enrolled in NEFS 9 for fishing year 2018, because NEFS 9 will not operate in 2019. Therefore, the values for some stocks do not sum to 100 percent. EP07MR19.000</GPH> 0 61480822 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Table 2. Cumulative PSC (percentage) each sector would receive by stock for fishing year 2019.* :; "' 1! ~:;~ ~=;t ~ ~ -" ~ "' u ~;:: "-15 ~ O~i! ~ ~i= ~i '-' ~]§ o"' ~ 3 i$' :0 ~ ~] ;;;..;..:: ~ ~~.§ ";; ~ '-' ~~~ ~~ "'"" ~ = <..: amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS VerDate Sep<11>2014 - -- .. ... <.) § =r2 ~ ~ ~ § <.) <I) = § <I) = ='"" ~ = = .. .. .. -=u-= .5 -= .5 .. <1.1 <1.1 <.) <.) ."":: = - ~] <I) ~; ~.§ ~ =.s .... .... 00~~ u~f.i: -< .. t; ~<1.1";! - = ~ .5 z~o .. <I) <I) s Of.i: ~ 00 f,i; ..:: CIJ ~ ~ ~ <I) .s = ·'= !,.: '; <1.1 <.) 0 -=~ ~ ~ ~ 803 35 2,252 4,195 595 4 1 40 43 54 1 119 32 810 420 7,637 2 32 82 418 779 1,175 9 1 26 336 147 12 21 17 1,500 642 8,921 MPB 0 4 10 15 28 206 0 0 3 38 14 0 3 0 199 100 1,397 NCCS 0 5 9 46 85 105 0 0 5 4 3 0 8 4 110 50 392 NEFS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NEFS2 12 175 184 3,676 6,848 3,504 10 1 196 345 268 52 172 46 3,634 460 10,409 NEFS 3 1 10 60 10 18 852 0 0 31 24 11 0 32 3 139 125 2,255 NEFS4 8 117 91 1,840 3,428 1,578 11 2 53 304 163 11 55 10 1,626 488 5,242 Sfmt 4725 NEFS5 1 13 0 280 522 1 7 15 2 14 11 7 0 138 4 6 35 NEFS6 6 81 25 1,008 1,878 705 14 4 33 126 98 24 36 22 1,286 236 2,728 NEFS7 26 370 26 3,875 7,219 1,357 134 6 93 311 175 536 23 201 2,189 385 5,232 NEFS8 15 211 7 2,493 4,644 104 72 6 42 93 64 348 23 116 208 62 887 NEFS 10 1 15 21 61 113 235 0 0 38 35 38 0 72 7 81 39 629 NEFS 11 1 11 107 13 24 566 0 0 22 67 37 0 17 0 475 285 7,441 NEFS 12 1 18 25 32 60 186 0 0 69 16 11 0 59 2 55 17 639 NEFS 13 24 341 8 6,918 12,885 193 181 15 78 274 174 287 24 190 1,036 130 2,161 NHPB 0 0 10 0 0 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 5 5 92 SHS 1 4 59 27 823 1,532 707 5 0 28 156 70 92 35 6 1,026 262 2,299 SHS2 2 32 39 278 518 595 12 2 9 159 56 8 11 13 903 430 5,423 SHS3 32 446 65 10,099 18,812 5,451 58 5 74 831 438 217 36 197 8,789 1,845 18,127 Common Pool 4 57 26 245 457 205 8 14 37 57 41 l3 39 136 113 45 507 PO 00000 57 MCCS Fmt 4702 Jkt 247001 FGS Frm 00010 E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Table 3. ACE in 1,000 lbs ), by stock, for each sector for fishing year 2019. *# ~ ~ ·; "'<1.1 "'~ -=0 ~:::;... 0 0 ~ -<==~ ~ <1.1 ~ ~ ~ <1.1 0~~ u -= -=~ ~ o-= Sector -=-=0 -= "' ·; -= ~i~ ~ ~ ~ "' o-= = ~ -0 Name u ~; u0 z:§s u=o ~ =~ 0 ><.s 8287 EP07MR19.001</GPH> amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS 8288 VerDate Sep<11>2014 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 EP07MR19.002</GPH> * The data in this table are based on final fishing year 2018 sector rosters. The table does not provide an allocation for GB Cod Hook Gear and Mooncusser, which did not operate in 2018. The table excludes permits emolled in NEFS 9 for fishing year 2018, because NEFS 9 will not operate in 2019. Therefore, the values for some stocks do not sum to 100 fercent. Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand pounds. In some cases, this table shows an allocation ofO, hut that sector may he allocated a small amount of that stock in tens or hundreds pounds. 1\ The data in Lhe table represent the total allocations to each sector. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS VerDate Sep<11>2014 # Sector Name "Q 0 "Q 8~ ~ ~ ~~ o..,. u :J ~ u (.I ~ .... ~ ~"Q~ ;~ ~ ~~ 0 ~ 0 (.I 0 ~ ~"Q<I) ;~ = = ~ :-:= ;... ~::=~ ~ <I) ~::=~ ~ <I) ~<I) .... "Q 0 .... "Q ~ .... "Q ~ ~ = ~ ~ = -~ = ~ 0 ~ ~ ~ o-e :§ § ~; = <1)- ><~ 0 = z=o= -u=o oo~S u~S ~ <I) .... -=(,J'e ~ <I) (.I <I) ·; .t: = ~.§ ~ ~ ~ ~ = ~ __ ....<I)"Q o"d= 3 ~ .5 = z~o ~-= ~~.§ s ~ 00 ~~ .5 ~ ~ ~ <I) ~~<I) <I)"Q "Q 12 -= ~ ~ = .... :a ;..: "' "Q (.I 0 =0 <I) ~ ~ ~ Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 FGS 26 364 16 1,022 1,903 270 2 0 18 20 25 l 54 15 368 190 3,464 MCCS l 15 37 190 353 533 4 0 12 153 67 5 10 8 681 291 4,047 MPB 0 2 4 7 13 93 0 0 l 17 6 0 2 0 90 45 634 NCCS 0 2 4 21 39 48 0 0 2 2 l 0 4 2 50 22 178 NEFS l 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NEFS2 6 79 83 1,668 3,106 1,589 5 l 89 156 122 24 78 21 1,648 208 4,722 NEFS3 0 4 27 4 8 386 0 0 14 ll 5 0 14 2 63 57 1,023 NEFS4 4 53 41 835 1,555 716 5 l 24 138 74 5 25 4 738 221 2,378 NEFS5 0 6 0 127 237 0 3 7 l 6 5 3 0 63 2 3 16 NEFS6 3 37 12 457 852 320 6 2 15 57 44 ll 16 10 583 107 1,237 NEFS7 12 168 12 1,758 3,274 615 61 3 42 141 79 243 ll 91 993 174 2,373 NEFS8 7 96 3 1,131 2,106 47 33 3 19 42 29 158 10 53 94 28 402 NEFS lO 0 7 10 28 51 107 0 0 17 16 17 0 32 3 37 18 285 NEFS ll 0 5 49 6 ll 257 0 0 10 31 17 0 8 0 216 129 3,375 NEFS 12 l 8 ll 15 27 84 0 0 31 7 5 0 27 l 25 8 290 NEFS l3 ll 155 4 3,138 5,845 87 82 7 35 125 79 130 ll 86 470 59 980 NHPB 0 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 42 SHS l 2 27 12 373 695 321 2 0 12 7l 32 42 16 3 466 119 1,043 SHS2 l 15 18 126 235 270 5 l 4 72 26 3 5 6 410 195 2,460 SHS3 Common Pool Sector Total 14 202 30 4,581 8,533 2,472 26 2 34 377 199 98 17 89 3,987 837 8,222 2 26 12 Ill 207 93 4 6 17 26 18 6 18 62 51 21 230 88 1,245 378 15,489 28,851 8,219 235 26 381 1,442 831 725 339 456 10,921 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 "Q 2,715 37,170 8289 EP07MR19.003</GPH> amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS 8290 VerDate Sep<11>2014 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 EP07MR19.004</GPH> * The data in this table are based on final fishing year 2018 sector rosters. The table does not provide an allocation for GB Cod Hook Gear and Mooncusser, which did not operate in 2018. The table excludes permits emolled in NEFS 9 for fishing year 2018, because NEFS 9 will not operate in 2019. Therefore, the values for some stocks do not sum to 100 fercent. Numbers are rounded to the nearest metric ton, but allocations are made in pounds. In some cases, this table shows a sector allocation of 0 metric tons, but that sector may be allocated a small amount of that stock in pounds. 1\ The data in the table represent the total allocations to each sector. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules Sector Operations Plans and Contracts Twenty-one groundfish sectors are approved to operate in the groundfish sector fishery, 19 of which were active in fishing year 2018. Of those 19 sectors, 18 submitted operations plans and contracts for approval for fishing years 2019 and 2020. Northeast Fishery Sector IX did not submit an operations plan for fishing year 2019. Two additional sectors, GB Cod Hook Gear and Mooncusser, submitted operations plans and contracts, for a total of 20 sectors. We are proposing to approve 20 sector operations plans and contracts for fishing years 2019 and 2020. In order to approve a sector’s operations plan for fishing years 2019 and 2020, we consider whether a sector’s plan is consistent with regulatory requirements and FMP objectives, and whether it has been compliant with reporting requirements from previous years, including the year-end reporting requirements found at § 648.87(b)(1)(vi)(C). Approved operations plans, provided on our website as a single document for each sector, not only contain the rules under which each sector would fish, but also provide the legal contract that binds each member to the sector for the length of the sector’s operations plan. Each sector’s operations plan, and each sector’s members, must comply with the regulations governing sectors, found at § 648.87. In addition, each sector must conduct fishing activities as detailed in its approved operations plan. Participating vessels are required to comply with all pertinent Federal fishing regulations, except as specifically exempted in the letter of authorization (LOA) issued by the Regional Administrator, which details any approved sector exemptions from the regulations. If, during a fishing year, or between fishing years 2019 and 2020, a sector requests an exemption that we have already granted, or proposes a change to administrative provisions, we may amend the sector operations plans. Should any such amendments require modifications to LOAs, we would include these changes in updated LOAs and provide them to the appropriate sectors. As in previous years, we retain the right to revoke exemptions in-season if: We determine that the exemption jeopardizes management measures, objectives, or rebuilding efforts; the exemption results in unforeseen negative impacts on other managed fish stocks, habitat, or protected resources; the exemption causes enforcement concerns; catch from trips using the exemption cannot adequately be VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 monitored; or a sector is not meeting certain administrative or operational requirements. If it becomes necessary to revoke an exemption, we will do so through a process consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. Each sector is required to ensure that it does not exceed its ACE during the fishing year. Sector vessels are required to retain all legal-sized allocated Northeast multispecies stocks, unless a sector is granted an exemption allowing its member vessels to discard legal-sized unmarketable fish at sea. Catch (defined as landings and discards) of all allocated Northeast multispecies stocks by a sector’s vessels count against the sector’s allocation. Groundfish catch from a sector trip targeting nongroundfish species would be deducted from the sector’s ACE because these are groundfish trips using gear capable of catching groundfish. Catch from a nonsector trip in an exempted fishery does not count against a sector’s allocation and is assigned to a separate ACL subcomponent to account for any groundfish bycatch that occurs in nongroundfish fisheries. Each sector contract details the method for initial ACE sub-allocation to sector members. For fishing years 2019 and 2020, each sector has proposed that each active sector member could harvest an amount of fish equal to the amount each individual member’s permit contributed to the sector, as modified by the sector for reserves or other management measures. Each sector operations plan submitted for fishing years 2019 and 2020 states that the sector would withhold an initial reserve from the sector’s ACE sub-allocation to each individual member to prevent the sector from exceeding its ACE. A sector and sector members can be held jointly and severally liable for ACE overages, discarding legal-sized fish, and/or misreporting catch (landings or discards). Each sector contract provides procedures for enforcement of the sector’s rules, explains sector monitoring and reporting requirements, provides sector managers with the authority to issue stop fishing orders to sector members who violate provisions of the operations plan and contract, and presents a schedule of penalties that managers may levy for sector plan violations. Sectors are required to monitor their allocations and catch. To help ensure that a sector does not exceed its ACE, each sector operations plan explains sector monitoring and reporting requirements, including a requirement to submit weekly catch reports to us. If a sector reaches an ACE threshold (specified in the operations plan), the PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 8291 sector must provide us with sector allocation usage reports on a daily basis. Once a sector’s allocation for a particular stock is caught, that sector is required to cease all sector fishing operations in that stock area until it acquires more ACE, likely by an ACE transfer between sectors. Within 60 days of when we complete year-end catch accounting, each sector is required to submit an annual report detailing the sector’s catch (landings and discards), enforcement actions, and pertinent information necessary to evaluate the biological, economic, and social impacts of each sector. At-Sea Monitoring Sectors are responsible for the at-sea portion of costs associated with the sector ASM program, even in years when reimbursement funds are available, and for designing, implementing, and funding an ASM program that will provide the level of ASM coverage specified annually. We are required to specify a level of ASM coverage using a process described in Framework 55 (81 FR 26412; May 2, 2016) that provides a reliable estimate of overall catch by sectors needed for monitoring ACEs and ACLs while minimizing the cost burden to sectors and NMFS to the extent practicable. The draft operations plans submitted in October 2018 included industryfunded ASM plans to be used for fishing year 2019. As in previous years, we gave sectors the option to design their own programs in compliance with regulations, or elect to adopt the NMFSdesigned ASM program that we have used in previous fishing years. As in past years, several sectors chose to adopt the NMFS-designed program while others proposed programs of their own design. Sector-designed ASM programs for fishing years 2019 and 2020 were similar to those approved in past years. In the event we cannot approve a proposed ASM program, we asked all sectors to include an option to use the current NMFS-designed ASM program as a back-up. Sustainable Harvest Sectors 1, 2, and 3, GB Cod Fixed Gear Sector, Mooncusser Sector, Northeast Coastal Communities Sector, Maine Coast Community Sector, and Northeast Fishery Sectors 5, 10, 11, and 13 have proposed to use the ASM program that was developed by NMFS. We propose to approve this program for these sectors because it is consistent with goals and objectives of monitoring and regulatory requirements. Sectors that operate only as permit banks, and explicitly prohibit fishing in their operations plans, are not E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 8292 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules required to include provisions for an ASM program. We propose to approve the ASM programs proposed by the remaining seven active sectors, NEFS 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 12, which state that they will: Contract with a NMFS-approved ASM provider; meet the specified coverage level; and utilize the PTNS for random selection of monitored trips and notification to providers. These ASM programs also include additional protocols for ASM coverage waivers, incident reporting, and safety requirements for their sector managers and members. We have determined that the programs are consistent with the goals and objectives of at-sea monitoring and regulatory requirements. In fishing years 2010 and 2011, we funded an ASM program with a target ASM coverage level of 30 percent of all trips. In addition, we provided 8percent observer coverage through the Northeast Fishery Observer Program (NEFOP), which helps to support the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) and stock assessments. This resulted in an overall target coverage level of 38 percent for fishing years 2010 and 2011, from the combined ASM and NEFOP. Beginning in fishing year 2012, we have conducted an annual analysis to determine the total target coverage level. Table 5 depicts the annual target coverage levels. Industry has been required to pay for their ASM coverage costs since 2012, while we continued to fund NEFOP coverage. However, we were able to fund the industry’s portion of ASM costs and NEFOP coverage in fishing years 2012 through most of 2015. Industry paid for their portion of the ASM program beginning in March 2016. In June 2016, after determining that the SBRM monitoring program could be fully funded with additional funding remaining, we announced that we had funds available to offset some of industry’s costs of the groundfish ASM program in 2016. We reimbursed sectors for 85 percent of their ASM costs for 10 months of the fishing year, distributed through a grant by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. In fishing year 2017, using leftover funds from the 2016 grant, we reimbursed sectors for 60 percent of industry costs in fishing year 2017. Fishing effort was lower than expected in the first few months of the fishing year, and we were ultimately able to retroactively reimburse sectors for an additional estimated 25 percent of industry’s 2017 costs, which exhausted the remaining available SBRM funds. TABLE 5—HISTORIC TARGET COVERAGE LEVEL FOR MONITORING Fishing year amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Total target coverage level (percent) ASM target coverage level (percent) NEFOP target coverage level (percent) 38 38 25 22 26 16 14 16 15 30 30 17 14 18 12 10 8 10 8 8 8 8 8 4 4 8 5 ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................. In fiscal year 2018, Congress appropriated $10.3 million for groundfish at-sea monitoring. With these funds, we were able to fully reimburse industry costs in fishing year 2018. Although the exact costs for fishing year 2019 are not known at this time, based on previous fishing year costs, we expect funds to be available to reimburse industry costs. We are in the process of determining the target coverage level for fishing year 2019. When it is available, we will announce the coverage level and make the supporting documentation available to the public. In fishing year 2018, a number of sectors have realized ASM coverage levels below the target coverage level. Since this issue became known during the fishing year, we have been working with the sectors and approved service providers to increase coverage levels. Sectors have been proactive in their efforts to correct the issue. Sectors with low ASM coverage levels have participated in monthly meetings with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center staff and service providers to develop strategies for increasing coverage; VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 conducted targeted outreach with sector members to improve their understanding of ASM requirements; and submitted monthly reports to us documenting their efforts. Two sectors have contracted with an additional service provider for the remainder of the fishing year. Service providers are also working to improve coverage levels. The Northeast Fisheries Science Center held an ASM certification course in December 2018, and all four approved providers took the opportunity to train additional staff. Increased staffing levels will help providers meet ASM contract requirements. We expect to continue working with sectors and service providers throughout the remainder of the year to increase coverage levels for 2018, and to ensure they meet the specified coverage target in 2019. Granted Exemptions for Fishing Years 2019 and 2020 Previously Granted Exemptions Granted for Fishing Years 2019 and 2020 (1–19) We are granting exemptions from the following requirements for fishing years 2019 and 2020, all of which have been PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 requested and granted in previous years: (1) 120-day block out of the fishery required for Day gillnet vessels; (2) 20day spawning block out of the fishery required for all vessels; (3) limits on the number of gillnets for Day gillnet vessels outside the GOM; (4) prohibition on a vessel hauling another vessel’s gillnet gear; (5) limits on the number of gillnets that may be hauled on GB when fishing under a Northeast multispecies/ monkfish DAS; (6) limits on the number of hooks that may be fished; (7) DAS Leasing Program length and horsepower restrictions; (8) prohibition on discarding; (9) gear requirements in the Eastern U.S./Canada Management Area; (10) prohibition on a vessel hauling another vessel’s hook gear; (11) the requirement to declare an intent to fish in the Eastern U.S./Canada Special Access Program (SAP) and the Closed Area (CA) II Yellowtail Flounder/ Haddock SAP prior to leaving the dock; (12) seasonal restrictions for the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP; (13) seasonal restrictions for the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP; (14) sampling exemption; (15) 6.5-inch E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 8293 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules minimum mesh size requirement for trawl nets to allow a 5.5-inch codend on directed redfish trips; (16) prohibition on combining small-mesh exempted fishery and sector trips in SNE; (17) extra-large mesh requirement to target dogfish on trips excluded from ASM in SNE and Inshore GB; (18) requirement that Handgear A vessels carry a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) unit when fishing in a single broad stock area; and (19) limits on the number of gillnets for Day gillnet vessels in the GOM. A detailed description of the previously granted exemptions and supporting rationale can be found in the applicable final rules identified in Table 6 below. Several exemptions available to sectors in previous fishing years were rendered obsolete when the Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 went into effect (83 FR 15240; April 9, 2018). The amendment removed the GB Seasonal Closure Area and Nantucket Lightship Closed Area, and changed CA I from a year-round closed area to a seasonal spawning closure. Consequently, sector exemptions pertaining to these closed areas are no longer applicable. These exemptions include: GB Seasonal Closure Area in May (previously a ‘‘universal’’ exemption); daily catch reporting by sector managers for vessels participating in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP; prohibition on fishing inside and outside the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP while on the same trip; and the prohibition on groundfish trips in Nantucket Lightship Closed Area. Sectors did not request any of these exemptions for fishing year 2019. TABLE 6—EXEMPTIONS FROM PREVIOUS FISHING YEARS THAT ARE GRANTED IN FISHING YEARS 2019 AND 2020 Exemptions Rulemaking Date of publication 1–2, 4–9 ......... 10–11 ............. 12–14 ............. 3, 15–16 ......... 17 ................... 18 ................... 19 ................... Fishing Year 2011 Sector Operations Final Rule ............................................. Fishing Year 2012 Sector Operations Final Rule ............................................. Fishing Year 2013 Sector Operations Interim Final Rule ................................. Fishing Years 2015–2016 Sector Operations Final Rule ................................. Framework 55 Final Rule .................................................................................. Amendment 18 Final Rule ................................................................................ Fishing Year 2018 Sector Operations Final Rule ............................................. April 25, 2011 .......................... May 2, 2012 ............................ May 2, 2013 ............................ May 1, 2015 ............................ May 2, 2016 ............................ April 21, 2017 .......................... May 1, 2018 ............................ Citation 76 77 78 80 81 82 83 FR FR FR FR FR FR FR 23076 26129 25591 25143 26412 18706 18965 Northeast Multispecies Federal Register documents can be found at http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/species/multispecies/. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS Additional Sector Operations Plan Provisions Inshore GOM Restrictions Several sectors have proposed an operations plan provision to limit and more accurately document a vessel’s behavior when fishing in an area they define as the inshore portion of the GOM BSA, or the area to the west of 70°15′ W long. As in fishing years 2017 and 2018, we are approving this provision, but note that a sector may elect to remove this provision in the final version of its operations plan, and it is not a requirement under NMFS regulations. Under this provision, a vessel that is carrying an observer or at-sea monitor would remain free to fish in all areas, including the inshore GOM area, without restriction. If a vessel is not carrying an observer or at-sea monitor and fishes any part of its trip in the GOM west of 70°15′ W long., the vessel would be prohibited from fishing outside of the GOM BSA. Also, if a vessel is not carrying an observer or atsea monitor and fishes any part of its trip outside the GOM BSA, this provision would prohibit a vessel from fishing west of 70°15′ W long. within the GOM BSA. The approved provision includes a requirement that a vessel declare whether it intends to fish in the inshore GOM area through the trip start hail using its VMS unit prior to departure. We provide sector managers with the ability to monitor this VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 provision through the Sector Information Management Module, a website where we also provide roster, trip, discard, and observer information to sector managers. A sector vessel may use a federally funded NEFOP observer or at-sea monitor on these trips because we believe it will not create bias in coverage or discard estimates, as fishing behavior is not expected to change as a result of this provision. Prohibition on a Vessel Hauling Another Vessel’s Trap Gear To Target Groundfish Several sectors have requested a provision to allow a vessel to haul another vessel’s fish trap gear, similar to the current exemptions that allow a vessel to haul another vessel’s gillnet gear or hook gear. These exemptions have generally been referred to as ‘‘community’’ gear exemptions. Regulations at § 648.84(a) require a vessel to mark all bottom-tending fixed gear, which would include fish trap gear used to target groundfish. To facilitate enforcement of this regulation, we are requiring that any community fish trap gear be tagged by each vessel that plans to haul the gear, similar to how this sector operations plan provision was implemented in fishing years 2014 through 2018. This allows one vessel to deploy the trap gear and another vessel to haul the trap gear, provided both vessels tag the gear prior to deployment. This requirement is included in the sector’s operations plan to provide the PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 opportunity for the sector to monitor the use of this provision and facilitate the Office of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard’s enforcement of the marking requirement. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the NMFS Assistant Administrator has preliminarily determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Northeast Multispecies FMP, other 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 (E.O.) 12866. This proposed rule does not contain policies with Federalism or takings implications as those terms are defined in E.O. 13132 and E.O. 12630, respectively. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires Federal agencies to consider disproportionality and profitability to E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1 8294 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 45 / Thursday, March 7, 2019 / Proposed Rules determine the significance of regulatory impacts. For RFA purposes only, NMFS 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 less than $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The determination of whether the entity is large or small is based on the average annual revenue for the most recent 3 years for which data are available (from 2015 through 2017). As of May 1, 2017 (beginning of fishing year 2017), NMFS had issued limited-access groundfish permits to 894 vessels.1 Each of these permits is eligible to join a sector or enroll in the common pool in fishing year 2019. Alternatively, each permit owner could also allow their permit to expire by failing to renew it. Each vessel may be individually owned or part of a larger corporate ownership structure, and for RFA purposes it is the ownership entity that is ultimately regulated by the proposed action. Ownership entities are identified on June 1 of each year based on the list of all permit numbers, for the most recent complete calendar year, that have applied for any type of Northeast Federal fishing permit. The current ownership data set is based on calendar year 2017 permits and contains gross sales associated with those permits for calendar years 2015 through 2017. Ownership data collected from permit holders indicates that there are 697 distinct business entities that hold at least one permit regulated by the proposed action. Of the 697 entities, 691 entities are categorized as small and 6 are categorized as large entities per the NMFS guidelines. All 691 small entities would be directly regulated by this proposed action. This proposed rule would implement specified universal regulatory exemptions that would provide more flexible management options to fishing businesses that join a sector. For this reason, the proposed rule will have a positive impact on all 697 entities, as it will allow them to participate in the sector groundfish fishery rather than fish under the common pool regulations, which include limits of days-at-sea, trip limits, gear restrictions, size limits, and closures intended to control overall fishing mortality. In addition, these effort controls would be subject to in-season modifications based on industry-wide landings. Conversely, the sector fishery would provide increased efficiency and flexibility to fishing businesses. Under the proposed rule, small entities would not be placed at a competitive disadvantage relative to large entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: March 4, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons stated 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 § 648.87, revise paragraph (d) to read as follows: ■ purposes of this analysis, groundfish limited access eligibilities held as Confirmation of Permit History (CPH) are not included because although they may generate revenue from ACE leasing, they do not generate any gross sales from fishing activity and thus would not be classified as commercial fishing entities. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with PROPOSALS 1 For VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:50 Mar 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 § 648.87 Sector allocation. * * * * * (d) Approved sector allocation proposals. Eligible NE multispecies PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 vessels, as specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, may participate in the sectors identified in paragraphs (d)(1) through (26) of this section, provided the operations plan is approved by the Regional Administrator in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section and each participating vessel and vessel operator and/or vessel owner complies with the requirements of the operations plan, the requirements and conditions specified in the letter of authorization issued pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, and all other requirements specified in this section. All operational aspects of these sectors shall be specified pursuant to the operations plan and sector contract, as required by this section. (1) GB Cod Hook Sector. (2) GB Cod Fixed Gear Sector. (3) Mooncusser Sector. (4) Sustainable Harvest Sector. (5) Sustainable Harvest Sector II. (6) Sustainable Harvest Sector III. (7) Port Clyde Community Groundfish Sector. (8) Northeast Fishery Sector I. (9) Northeast Fishery Sector II. (10) Northeast Fishery Sector III. (11) Northeast Fishery Sector IV. (12) Northeast Fishery Sector V. (13) Northeast Fishery Sector VI. (14) Northeast Fishery Sector VII. (15) Northeast Fishery Sector VIII. (16) Northeast Fishery Sector IX. (17) Northeast Fishery Sector X. (18) Northeast Fishery Sector XI. (19) Northeast Fishery Sector XII. (20) Northeast Fishery Sector XIII. (21) Tristate Sector. (22) Northeast Coastal Communities Sector. (23) State of Maine Permit Banking Sector. (24) State of Rhode Island Permit Bank Sector. (25) State of New Hampshire Permit Bank Sector. (26) State of Massachusetts Permit Bank Sector. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2019–04141 Filed 3–6–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\07MRP1.SGM 07MRP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 45 (Thursday, March 7, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 8282-8294]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-04141]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 190205076-9168-01]
RIN 0648-BI71


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern 
United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; 2019 and 2020 Sector 
Operations Plans and 2019 Allocation of Northeast Multispecies Annual 
Catch Entitlements

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

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: We propose to approve Northeast multispecies sector operations 
plans and grant regulatory exemptions for fishing years 2019 and 2020, 
approve the formation of a new sector, and provide preliminary annual 
catch entitlements to approved sectors for fishing year 2019. Approval 
of sector operations plans and contracts is necessary to allocate 
annual catch entitlements to the sectors and for the sectors to 
operate. This action is intended to allow limited access permit holders 
to form sectors, as authorized under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery 
Management Plan, and to exempt them from certain effort control 
regulations to improve the efficiency and economics of sector vessels.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before March 22, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2018-0139, by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0139, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Claire Fitz-Gerald, 55 
Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.
    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 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

[[Page 8283]]

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).
    Copies of each sector's final operations plan and contract are 
available from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office: 
Michael Pentony, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries 
Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. These documents 
are also accessible via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Claire Fitz-Gerald, Fishery Management 
Specialist, (978) 281-9255. To review Federal Register documents 
referenced in this rule, you can visit: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/species/multispecies.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) defines a 
sector as ``[a] group of persons (three or more persons, none of whom 
have an ownership interest in the other two persons in the sector) 
holding limited access vessel permits who have voluntarily entered into 
a contract and agree to certain fishing restrictions for a specified 
period of time, and which has been granted a TAC(s) [sic] in order to 
achieve objectives consistent with applicable FMP goals and 
objectives.'' Sectors are self-selecting, meaning each sector can 
choose its members.
    The Northeast multispecies sector management system allocates a 
portion of the Northeast multispecies stocks to each sector. These 
annual sector allocations are known as annual catch entitlements (ACE) 
and are based on the collective fishing history of a sector's members. 
Sectors may receive allocations of large-mesh Northeast multispecies 
stocks with the exception of Atlantic halibut, windowpane flounder, 
Atlantic wolffish, and ocean pout, which are non-allocated species 
managed under separate effort controls. ACEs are portions of a stock's 
annual catch limit (ACL) available to commercial Northeast multispecies 
vessels. A sector determines how to harvest its ACE.
    Because sectors elect to receive an allocation under a quota-based 
system, the FMP grants sector vessels several ``universal'' exemptions 
from the FMP's effort controls. These universal exemptions apply to: 
Trip limits on allocated stocks; Northeast multispecies days-at-sea 
(DAS) restrictions; the requirement to use a 6.5-inch (16.5-cm) mesh 
codend when fishing with selective gear on Georges Bank (GB); portions 
of the Gulf of Maine (GOM) Cod Protection Closures; and the at-sea 
monitoring (ASM) coverage requirement for sector vessels fishing 
exclusively in the Southern New England (SNE) and Inshore GB Broad 
Stock Areas (BSA) with extra-large mesh gillnets (10-inch [25.4-cm] or 
greater). The FMP prohibits sectors from requesting exemptions from 
permitting restrictions, gear restrictions designed to minimize habitat 
impacts, and most reporting requirements.
    In addition to the approved sectors, there are several state-
operated permit banks, which receive allocations based on the history 
of the permits owned by the states. The final rule implementing 
Amendment 17 to the FMP allowed a state-operated permit bank to receive 
an allocation without needing to comply with the administrative and 
procedural requirements for sectors (77 FR 16942; March 23, 2012). 
Instead, permit banks are required to submit a list of participating 
permits to us, as specified in the permit bank's Memorandum of 
Agreement, to determine the ACE allocated to the permit bank. These 
allocations may be leased to fishermen enrolled in sectors. Although 
state-operated permit banks are no longer approved through the sector 
approval process, they are included in this discussion of allocations 
because they contribute to the total allocation under the sector 
system.
    We received operations plans and preliminary contracts for fishing 
years 2019 and 2020 from 20 sectors. The operations plans are similar 
to operations plans and contracts previously approved for prior fishing 
years. We have made a preliminary determination that the 20 sector 
operations plans and contracts that we received, and the 19 regulatory 
exemptions requested, are consistent with the FMP's goals and 
objectives, and meet sector requirements outlined in the regulations at 
Sec.  648.87. Copies of the operations plans and contracts, and the 
environmental assessment (EA), are available at: http://www.regulations.gov and from NMFS (see ADDRESSES).

Default Catch Limits for Fishing Year 2019

    Last year, Framework 57 set fishing year 2019 catch limits for all 
groundfish stocks (83 FR 18985; May 1, 2018). The 2019 catch limits for 
most stocks remain the same as, or similar, to 2018 limits. Framework 
57 did not, however, specify a 2019 catch limit for Eastern GB cod. 
Eastern GB cod is a management unit of the GB cod stock that is jointly 
managed with Canada, and the shared quota is set annually.
    This year, in Framework 58, the Council adopted revised 2019 catch 
limits for GB cod, GB haddock, GB yellowtail, witch flounder, GB winter 
flounder, GOM winter flounder, and Atlantic halibut. We are working to 
publish a proposed rule to request comments on the Framework 58 
measures. Due to the 35-day Federal government shutdown resulting from 
a lapse in appropriations, there will be a delay in the rulemaking 
process for Framework 58, and it will not be possible to implement 
these measures in time for May 1, 2019.
    As a result, this rule announces the 2019 catch limits set in 
Framework 57 that would be effective on May 1, 2019, including 
preliminary sector and common pool allocations based on final 2018 
fishing year rosters (Table 1). If Framework 58 is approved, the 2019 
catch limits announced in this rule for GB cod, GB haddock, GB 
yellowtail, witch flounder, GB winter flounder, GOM winter flounder, 
and Atlantic halibut will change. This rule also sets a default catch 
limit for Eastern GB cod. The groundfish regulations require default 
catch limits for any stock for which final specifications are not in 
place by the beginning of the fishing year on May 1. The FMP's default 
specifications provision sets catch at 35 percent of the previous 
year's (2018) catch limits beginning on May 1 through July 31, or until 
the final rule for Framework 58 is implemented if prior to July 31.
    In Framework 58, the Council recommended a total ACL of 103 mt for 
GB yellowtail flounder in fishing year 2019. This is a 64-percent 
decrease from the fishing year 2019 ACL previously set in Framework 57, 
and a 50-percent decrease from the fishing year 2018 ACL. The Council 
also revised the fishing year 2019 ACL for GB cod to 1,741 mt. This a 
14-percent increase from the fishing year 2018 ACL, but a 20-percent 
decrease from the fishing year 2019 ACL previously set in Framework 57. 
The adjustments are based on the recommendation of the Transboundary 
Management Guidance Committee, which is the joint U.S./Canada 
management body that meets annually to recommend shared quotas for the 
three transboundary stocks. These recommendations will be further 
discussed in the Framework 58 proposed rule. We are highlighting these 
changes in this rule because the GB

[[Page 8284]]

yellowtail flounder and GB cod sector allocations proposed in this rule 
are based on the higher 2019 catch limits previously approved in 
Framework 57. If the Council's recommended catch limits become final 
with no changes, ACE for these stocks will be reduced when Framework 58 
is implemented.
    Framework 58 would also adjust the GOM cod catch limits for 
commercial groundfish vessels. The sector sub-ACL for GOM cod would be 
reduced by 28.8 mt for fishing year 2019. This adjustment is required 
because the total ACL was exceeded in fishing year 2017. Therefore, 
sectors' ACE will be reduced when Framework 58 is implemented compared 
to their May 1 allocations.

                                                                      Table 1--Northeast Multispecies Catch Limits for 2019
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                             Preliminary                  Midwater               Small-      State
                              Stock                                Total ACL   Groundfish    Preliminary     common pool   Recreational    trawl     Scallop      mesh    waters sub- Other sub-
                                                                                sub-ACL    sector sub-ACL      sub-ACL        sub-ACL     fishery    fishery   fisheries   component   component
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GB Cod *.........................................................      1,519        1,360           1,333              28  ............  .........  .........  .........          16         143
GOM Cod *........................................................        666          610             378              12          220   .........  .........  .........          47           9
GB Haddock *.....................................................     46,312       44,659          44,340             319  ............        680  .........  .........         487         487
GOM Haddock......................................................     11,803       11,506           8,219              93        3,194         116  .........  .........          91          91
GB Yellowtail Flounder *.........................................        291          239             235               4  ............  .........         47          6           0           0
SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder.......................................         66           32              26               6  ............  .........         15  .........           2          17
CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder.......................................        490          398             381              17  ............  .........  .........  .........          51          41
American Plaice..................................................      1,532        1,467           1,442              26  ............  .........  .........  .........          32          32
Witch Flounder *.................................................        948          849             831              18  ............  .........  .........  .........          40          60
GB Winter Flounder *.............................................        787          731             725               6  ............  .........  .........  .........           0          57
GOM Winter Flounder *............................................        428          357             339              18  ............  .........  .........  .........          67           4
SNE/MA Winter Flounder...........................................        700          518             456              62  ............  .........  .........  .........          73         109
Redfish..........................................................     11,208       10,972          10,921              51  ............  .........  .........  .........         118         118
White Hake.......................................................      2,794        2,735           2,715              21  ............  .........  .........  .........          29          29
Pollock..........................................................     38,204       37,400          37,170             230  ............  .........  .........  .........         402         402
N. Windowpane Flounder...........................................         86           63  ..............              63  ............  .........         18  .........           2           3
S. Windowpane Flounder...........................................        457           53  ..............              53  ............  .........        158  .........          28         218
Ocean Pout.......................................................        120           94  ..............              94  ............  .........  .........  .........           3          23
Atlantic Halibut *...............................................        100           77  ..............              77  ............  .........  .........  .........          21           2
Atlantic Wolffish................................................         84           82  ..............              82  ............  .........  .........  .........           1           1
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Catch limit will be replaced when the final rule for Framework 58 becomes effective.

Formation of a New Sector

    This action proposes to approve the formation of a new sector, 
Mooncusser Sector, for operation beginning in the 2019 fishing year. We 
have preliminarily determined that the sector operations plan and 
preliminary contract submitted by Mooncusser Sector contains the 
required provisions for operations. The request to form the sector went 
through the new approval process established in Framework 55 (81 FR 
26412; May 2, 2016). As required by the FMP, we consulted with the New 
England Fishery Management Council on the formation of this new sector. 
At its January 2019 meeting, the Council reviewed the sector's proposed 
operations plan and preliminary contract and recommended that we 
approve the new sector.

Sector Allocations

    The sector allocations proposed in this rule are based on the 2019 
catch limits established in Framework 57 and final fishing year 2018 
sector rosters. Due to the 35-day partial Federal government shutdown 
resulting from a lack of appropriations, there was a delay in 
distributing the annual letter describing each vessel's potential 
contribution to a sector's quota for the upcoming fishing year, and the 
deadline to enroll in a sector is set for March 8, 2019, although 
sectors may set a more restrictive deadline for their members. Thus, we 
are using fishing year 2018 rosters as a proxy for fishing year 2019 
sector membership and to calculate the fishing year 2019 projected 
allocations in this proposed rule.
    Any permits that change ownership after December 1, 2018, retain 
the ability to join a sector through April 30, 2019. All permits 
enrolled in a sector, and the vessels associated with those permits, 
have until April 30, 2019, to withdraw from a sector and fish in the 
common pool for fishing year 2019. For fishing year 2020, we will set 
similar roster deadlines, notify permit holders of the fishing year 
2020 deadlines, and allow permit holders to change sectors separate 
from the annual sector operations plans approval process.
    We calculate the sector's allocation for each stock by summing its 
members' potential sector contributions (PSC) for a stock and then 
multiplying that total percentage by the available commercial sub-ACL 
for that stock. Table 2 shows the projected total fishing year 2019 PSC 
by stock for the 18 sectors approved to operate in fishing year 2018 
that submitted operations plans for 2019. Tables 3 and 4 show the 
initial allocations that each sector would be allocated for fishing 
year 2019 based on their final fishing year 2018 rosters. At the start 
of the 2019 fishing year, we provide final allocations, to the nearest 
pound, to each sector based on their final May 1 rosters. We use these 
final allocations, along with later adjustments for ACE transfers, 
reductions for overages, or increases for carryover from fishing year 
2018, to monitor sector catch. We have included the common pool sub-
ACLs in tables 2 through 4 for comparison.
    These tables do not represent the final allocations for the 2019 
fishing year. Northeast Fishery Sector IX (NEFS 9) was approved for 
operation in fishing year 2018. However, NEFS 9 did not submit an 
operations plan and will not operate in fishing year 2019. As a result, 
NEFS 9 is not included in these tables and the permits enrolled in NEFS 
9 for fishing year 2018 are excluded from tables 2 through 4. We expect 
the permits enrolled in NEFS 9 for fishing year 2018 to enroll in a 
different sector or join the common pool for fishing year 2019. ACE 
attributable to those permits will be allocated to whichever sector(s) 
those permits enroll in for 2019, or to the common pool.
    We also cannot calculate ACEs for the GB Cod Hook Gear and 
Mooncusser sectors until they submit their preliminary rosters. We do 
not have roster data for these sectors because they did not operate in 
fishing year 2018. GB

[[Page 8285]]

Cod Hook Gear and Mooncusser sectors' 2019 rosters will include permits 
currently enrolled in other sectors or fishing in the common pool, and 
these two sectors' final ACE allocations will be based on the PSC of 
their enrolled permits.
    We do not assign a permit separate PSCs for Eastern GB cod or 
Eastern GB haddock; instead, we assign each permit a PSC for the GB cod 
stock and GB haddock stock. Each sector's GB cod and GB haddock 
allocations are then divided into an Eastern ACE and a Western ACE, 
based on each sector's percentage of the GB cod and GB haddock ACLs. 
For example, if a sector is allocated 4 percent of the GB cod ACL and 6 
percent of the GB haddock ACL, the sector is allocated 4 percent of the 
commercial Eastern U.S./Canada Area GB cod total allowable catch (TAC) 
and 6 percent of the commercial Eastern U.S./Canada Area GB haddock TAC 
as its Eastern GB cod and haddock ACEs. These amounts are then 
subtracted from the sector's overall GB cod and haddock allocations to 
determine its Western GB cod and haddock ACEs. A sector may only 
harvest its Eastern GB cod and haddock ACEs in the Eastern U.S./Canada 
Area, but may ``convert,'' or transfer, its Eastern GB cod or haddock 
allocation into Western GB allocation and fish that converted ACE 
outside the Eastern GB area.
    At the start of fishing year 2019, we may withhold 20 percent of 
each sector's fishing year 2019 allocation until we finalize fishing 
year 2018 catch information. We expect to finalize 2018 catch 
information in summer 2019. We will allow sectors to transfer fishing 
year 2018 ACE for 2 weeks upon our completion of year-end catch 
accounting to reduce or eliminate any fishing year 2018 overages. If 
necessary, we will reduce any sector's fishing year 2019 allocation to 
account for a remaining overage in fishing year 2018. We will follow 
the same process for fishing year 2020. Each year of the operations 
plans, we will notify the Council and sector managers of this deadline 
in writing and will announce our final ACE determination on our website 
at: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/.

[[Page 8286]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP07MR19.000


[[Page 8287]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP07MR19.001


[[Page 8288]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP07MR19.002


[[Page 8289]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP07MR19.003


[[Page 8290]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP07MR19.004


[[Page 8291]]



Sector Operations Plans and Contracts

    Twenty-one groundfish sectors are approved to operate in the 
groundfish sector fishery, 19 of which were active in fishing year 
2018. Of those 19 sectors, 18 submitted operations plans and contracts 
for approval for fishing years 2019 and 2020. Northeast Fishery Sector 
IX did not submit an operations plan for fishing year 2019. Two 
additional sectors, GB Cod Hook Gear and Mooncusser, submitted 
operations plans and contracts, for a total of 20 sectors. We are 
proposing to approve 20 sector operations plans and contracts for 
fishing years 2019 and 2020. In order to approve a sector's operations 
plan for fishing years 2019 and 2020, we consider whether a sector's 
plan is consistent with regulatory requirements and FMP objectives, and 
whether it has been compliant with reporting requirements from previous 
years, including the year-end reporting requirements found at Sec.  
648.87(b)(1)(vi)(C). Approved operations plans, provided on our website 
as a single document for each sector, not only contain the rules under 
which each sector would fish, but also provide the legal contract that 
binds each member to the sector for the length of the sector's 
operations plan. Each sector's operations plan, and each sector's 
members, must comply with the regulations governing sectors, found at 
Sec.  648.87. In addition, each sector must conduct fishing activities 
as detailed in its approved operations plan.
    Participating vessels are required to comply with all pertinent 
Federal fishing regulations, except as specifically exempted in the 
letter of authorization (LOA) issued by the Regional Administrator, 
which details any approved sector exemptions from the regulations. If, 
during a fishing year, or between fishing years 2019 and 2020, a sector 
requests an exemption that we have already granted, or proposes a 
change to administrative provisions, we may amend the sector operations 
plans. Should any such amendments require modifications to LOAs, we 
would include these changes in updated LOAs and provide them to the 
appropriate sectors.
    As in previous years, we retain the right to revoke exemptions in-
season if: We determine that the exemption jeopardizes management 
measures, objectives, or rebuilding efforts; the exemption results in 
unforeseen negative impacts on other managed fish stocks, habitat, or 
protected resources; the exemption causes enforcement concerns; catch 
from trips using the exemption cannot adequately be monitored; or a 
sector is not meeting certain administrative or operational 
requirements. If it becomes necessary to revoke an exemption, we will 
do so through a process consistent with the Administrative Procedure 
Act.
    Each sector is required to ensure that it does not exceed its ACE 
during the fishing year. Sector vessels are required to retain all 
legal-sized allocated Northeast multispecies stocks, unless a sector is 
granted an exemption allowing its member vessels to discard legal-sized 
unmarketable fish at sea. Catch (defined as landings and discards) of 
all allocated Northeast multispecies stocks by a sector's vessels count 
against the sector's allocation. Groundfish catch from a sector trip 
targeting non-groundfish species would be deducted from the sector's 
ACE because these are groundfish trips using gear capable of catching 
groundfish. Catch from a non-sector trip in an exempted fishery does 
not count against a sector's allocation and is assigned to a separate 
ACL sub-component to account for any groundfish bycatch that occurs in 
non-groundfish fisheries.
    Each sector contract details the method for initial ACE sub-
allocation to sector members. For fishing years 2019 and 2020, each 
sector has proposed that each active sector member could harvest an 
amount of fish equal to the amount each individual member's permit 
contributed to the sector, as modified by the sector for reserves or 
other management measures. Each sector operations plan submitted for 
fishing years 2019 and 2020 states that the sector would withhold an 
initial reserve from the sector's ACE sub-allocation to each individual 
member to prevent the sector from exceeding its ACE. A sector and 
sector members can be held jointly and severally liable for ACE 
overages, discarding legal-sized fish, and/or misreporting catch 
(landings or discards). Each sector contract provides procedures for 
enforcement of the sector's rules, explains sector monitoring and 
reporting requirements, provides sector managers with the authority to 
issue stop fishing orders to sector members who violate provisions of 
the operations plan and contract, and presents a schedule of penalties 
that managers may levy for sector plan violations.
    Sectors are required to monitor their allocations and catch. To 
help ensure that a sector does not exceed its ACE, each sector 
operations plan explains sector monitoring and reporting requirements, 
including a requirement to submit weekly catch reports to us. If a 
sector reaches an ACE threshold (specified in the operations plan), the 
sector must provide us with sector allocation usage reports on a daily 
basis. Once a sector's allocation for a particular stock is caught, 
that sector is required to cease all sector fishing operations in that 
stock area until it acquires more ACE, likely by an ACE transfer 
between sectors. Within 60 days of when we complete year-end catch 
accounting, each sector is required to submit an annual report 
detailing the sector's catch (landings and discards), enforcement 
actions, and pertinent information necessary to evaluate the 
biological, economic, and social impacts of each sector.

At-Sea Monitoring

    Sectors are responsible for the at-sea portion of costs associated 
with the sector ASM program, even in years when reimbursement funds are 
available, and for designing, implementing, and funding an ASM program 
that will provide the level of ASM coverage specified annually. We are 
required to specify a level of ASM coverage using a process described 
in Framework 55 (81 FR 26412; May 2, 2016) that provides a reliable 
estimate of overall catch by sectors needed for monitoring ACEs and 
ACLs while minimizing the cost burden to sectors and NMFS to the extent 
practicable.
    The draft operations plans submitted in October 2018 included 
industry-funded ASM plans to be used for fishing year 2019. As in 
previous years, we gave sectors the option to design their own programs 
in compliance with regulations, or elect to adopt the NMFS-designed ASM 
program that we have used in previous fishing years. As in past years, 
several sectors chose to adopt the NMFS-designed program while others 
proposed programs of their own design. Sector-designed ASM programs for 
fishing years 2019 and 2020 were similar to those approved in past 
years. In the event we cannot approve a proposed ASM program, we asked 
all sectors to include an option to use the current NMFS-designed ASM 
program as a back-up.
    Sustainable Harvest Sectors 1, 2, and 3, GB Cod Fixed Gear Sector, 
Mooncusser Sector, Northeast Coastal Communities Sector, Maine Coast 
Community Sector, and Northeast Fishery Sectors 5, 10, 11, and 13 have 
proposed to use the ASM program that was developed by NMFS. We propose 
to approve this program for these sectors because it is consistent with 
goals and objectives of monitoring and regulatory requirements. Sectors 
that operate only as permit banks, and explicitly prohibit fishing in 
their operations plans, are not

[[Page 8292]]

required to include provisions for an ASM program.
    We propose to approve the ASM programs proposed by the remaining 
seven active sectors, NEFS 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 12, which state that 
they will: Contract with a NMFS-approved ASM provider; meet the 
specified coverage level; and utilize the PTNS for random selection of 
monitored trips and notification to providers. These ASM programs also 
include additional protocols for ASM coverage waivers, incident 
reporting, and safety requirements for their sector managers and 
members. We have determined that the programs are consistent with the 
goals and objectives of at-sea monitoring and regulatory requirements.
    In fishing years 2010 and 2011, we funded an ASM program with a 
target ASM coverage level of 30 percent of all trips. In addition, we 
provided 8-percent observer coverage through the Northeast Fishery 
Observer Program (NEFOP), which helps to support the Standardized 
Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) and stock assessments. This 
resulted in an overall target coverage level of 38 percent for fishing 
years 2010 and 2011, from the combined ASM and NEFOP. Beginning in 
fishing year 2012, we have conducted an annual analysis to determine 
the total target coverage level. Table 5 depicts the annual target 
coverage levels. Industry has been required to pay for their ASM 
coverage costs since 2012, while we continued to fund NEFOP coverage. 
However, we were able to fund the industry's portion of ASM costs and 
NEFOP coverage in fishing years 2012 through most of 2015. Industry 
paid for their portion of the ASM program beginning in March 2016. In 
June 2016, after determining that the SBRM monitoring program could be 
fully funded with additional funding remaining, we announced that we 
had funds available to offset some of industry's costs of the 
groundfish ASM program in 2016. We reimbursed sectors for 85 percent of 
their ASM costs for 10 months of the fishing year, distributed through 
a grant by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. In fishing 
year 2017, using leftover funds from the 2016 grant, we reimbursed 
sectors for 60 percent of industry costs in fishing year 2017. Fishing 
effort was lower than expected in the first few months of the fishing 
year, and we were ultimately able to retroactively reimburse sectors 
for an additional estimated 25 percent of industry's 2017 costs, which 
exhausted the remaining available SBRM funds.

                             Table 5--Historic Target Coverage Level for Monitoring
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Total target     ASM target     NEFOP target
                          Fishing year                            coverage level  coverage level  coverage level
                                                                     (percent)       (percent)       (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010............................................................              38              30               8
2011............................................................              38              30               8
2012............................................................              25              17               8
2013............................................................              22              14               8
2014............................................................              26              18               8
2015............................................................              16              12               4
2016............................................................              14              10               4
2017............................................................              16               8               8
2018............................................................              15              10               5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In fiscal year 2018, Congress appropriated $10.3 million for 
groundfish at-sea monitoring. With these funds, we were able to fully 
reimburse industry costs in fishing year 2018. Although the exact costs 
for fishing year 2019 are not known at this time, based on previous 
fishing year costs, we expect funds to be available to reimburse 
industry costs. We are in the process of determining the target 
coverage level for fishing year 2019. When it is available, we will 
announce the coverage level and make the supporting documentation 
available to the public.
    In fishing year 2018, a number of sectors have realized ASM 
coverage levels below the target coverage level. Since this issue 
became known during the fishing year, we have been working with the 
sectors and approved service providers to increase coverage levels. 
Sectors have been proactive in their efforts to correct the issue. 
Sectors with low ASM coverage levels have participated in monthly 
meetings with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center staff and service 
providers to develop strategies for increasing coverage; conducted 
targeted outreach with sector members to improve their understanding of 
ASM requirements; and submitted monthly reports to us documenting their 
efforts. Two sectors have contracted with an additional service 
provider for the remainder of the fishing year. Service providers are 
also working to improve coverage levels. The Northeast Fisheries 
Science Center held an ASM certification course in December 2018, and 
all four approved providers took the opportunity to train additional 
staff. Increased staffing levels will help providers meet ASM contract 
requirements. We expect to continue working with sectors and service 
providers throughout the remainder of the year to increase coverage 
levels for 2018, and to ensure they meet the specified coverage target 
in 2019.

Granted Exemptions for Fishing Years 2019 and 2020

Previously Granted Exemptions Granted for Fishing Years 2019 and 2020 
(1-19)

    We are granting exemptions from the following requirements for 
fishing years 2019 and 2020, all of which have been requested and 
granted in previous years: (1) 120-day block out of the fishery 
required for Day gillnet vessels; (2) 20-day spawning block out of the 
fishery required for all vessels; (3) limits on the number of gillnets 
for Day gillnet vessels outside the GOM; (4) prohibition on a vessel 
hauling another vessel's gillnet gear; (5) limits on the number of 
gillnets that may be hauled on GB when fishing under a Northeast 
multispecies/monkfish DAS; (6) limits on the number of hooks that may 
be fished; (7) DAS Leasing Program length and horsepower restrictions; 
(8) prohibition on discarding; (9) gear requirements in the Eastern 
U.S./Canada Management Area; (10) prohibition on a vessel hauling 
another vessel's hook gear; (11) the requirement to declare an intent 
to fish in the Eastern U.S./Canada Special Access Program (SAP) and the 
Closed Area (CA) II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP prior to leaving 
the dock; (12) seasonal restrictions for the Eastern U.S./Canada 
Haddock SAP; (13) seasonal restrictions for the CA II Yellowtail 
Flounder/Haddock SAP; (14) sampling exemption; (15) 6.5-inch

[[Page 8293]]

minimum mesh size requirement for trawl nets to allow a 5.5-inch codend 
on directed redfish trips; (16) prohibition on combining small-mesh 
exempted fishery and sector trips in SNE; (17) extra-large mesh 
requirement to target dogfish on trips excluded from ASM in SNE and 
Inshore GB; (18) requirement that Handgear A vessels carry a Vessel 
Monitoring System (VMS) unit when fishing in a single broad stock area; 
and (19) limits on the number of gillnets for Day gillnet vessels in 
the GOM. A detailed description of the previously granted exemptions 
and supporting rationale can be found in the applicable final rules 
identified in Table 6 below.
    Several exemptions available to sectors in previous fishing years 
were rendered obsolete when the Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat 
Amendment 2 went into effect (83 FR 15240; April 9, 2018). The 
amendment removed the GB Seasonal Closure Area and Nantucket Lightship 
Closed Area, and changed CA I from a year-round closed area to a 
seasonal spawning closure. Consequently, sector exemptions pertaining 
to these closed areas are no longer applicable. These exemptions 
include: GB Seasonal Closure Area in May (previously a ``universal'' 
exemption); daily catch reporting by sector managers for vessels 
participating in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP; prohibition on fishing 
inside and outside the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP while on the same 
trip; and the prohibition on groundfish trips in Nantucket Lightship 
Closed Area. Sectors did not request any of these exemptions for 
fishing year 2019.

         Table 6--Exemptions From Previous Fishing Years That Are Granted in Fishing Years 2019 and 2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Exemptions                    Rulemaking              Date of publication             Citation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1-2, 4-9...................  Fishing Year 2011 Sector       April 25, 2011..........  76 FR 23076
                              Operations Final Rule.
10-11......................  Fishing Year 2012 Sector       May 2, 2012.............  77 FR 26129
                              Operations Final Rule.
12-14......................  Fishing Year 2013 Sector       May 2, 2013.............  78 FR 25591
                              Operations Interim Final
                              Rule.
3, 15-16...................  Fishing Years 2015-2016        May 1, 2015.............  80 FR 25143
                              Sector Operations Final Rule.
17.........................  Framework 55 Final Rule......  May 2, 2016.............  81 FR 26412
18.........................  Amendment 18 Final Rule......  April 21, 2017..........  82 FR 18706
19.........................  Fishing Year 2018 Sector       May 1, 2018.............  83 FR 18965
                              Operations Final Rule.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Northeast Multispecies Federal Register documents can be found at http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/species/multispecies/ sustainable/species/multispecies/.

Additional Sector Operations Plan Provisions

Inshore GOM Restrictions

    Several sectors have proposed an operations plan provision to limit 
and more accurately document a vessel's behavior when fishing in an 
area they define as the inshore portion of the GOM BSA, or the area to 
the west of 70[deg]15' W long. As in fishing years 2017 and 2018, we 
are approving this provision, but note that a sector may elect to 
remove this provision in the final version of its operations plan, and 
it is not a requirement under NMFS regulations.
    Under this provision, a vessel that is carrying an observer or at-
sea monitor would remain free to fish in all areas, including the 
inshore GOM area, without restriction. If a vessel is not carrying an 
observer or at-sea monitor and fishes any part of its trip in the GOM 
west of 70[deg]15' W long., the vessel would be prohibited from fishing 
outside of the GOM BSA. Also, if a vessel is not carrying an observer 
or at-sea monitor and fishes any part of its trip outside the GOM BSA, 
this provision would prohibit a vessel from fishing west of 70[deg]15' 
W long. within the GOM BSA. The approved provision includes a 
requirement that a vessel declare whether it intends to fish in the 
inshore GOM area through the trip start hail using its VMS unit prior 
to departure. We provide sector managers with the ability to monitor 
this provision through the Sector Information Management Module, a 
website where we also provide roster, trip, discard, and observer 
information to sector managers. A sector vessel may use a federally 
funded NEFOP observer or at-sea monitor on these trips because we 
believe it will not create bias in coverage or discard estimates, as 
fishing behavior is not expected to change as a result of this 
provision.

Prohibition on a Vessel Hauling Another Vessel's Trap Gear To Target 
Groundfish

    Several sectors have requested a provision to allow a vessel to 
haul another vessel's fish trap gear, similar to the current exemptions 
that allow a vessel to haul another vessel's gillnet gear or hook gear. 
These exemptions have generally been referred to as ``community'' gear 
exemptions. Regulations at Sec.  648.84(a) require a vessel to mark all 
bottom-tending fixed gear, which would include fish trap gear used to 
target groundfish. To facilitate enforcement of this regulation, we are 
requiring that any community fish trap gear be tagged by each vessel 
that plans to haul the gear, similar to how this sector operations plan 
provision was implemented in fishing years 2014 through 2018. This 
allows one vessel to deploy the trap gear and another vessel to haul 
the trap gear, provided both vessels tag the gear prior to deployment. 
This requirement is included in the sector's operations plan to provide 
the opportunity for the sector to monitor the use of this provision and 
facilitate the Office of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard's 
enforcement of the marking requirement.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the NMFS 
Assistant Administrator has preliminarily determined that this proposed 
rule is consistent with the Northeast Multispecies FMP, other 
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 (E.O.) 12866.
    This proposed rule does not contain policies with Federalism or 
takings implications as those terms are defined in E.O. 13132 and E.O. 
12630, respectively.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires Federal agencies to 
consider disproportionality and profitability to

[[Page 8294]]

determine the significance of regulatory impacts. For RFA purposes 
only, NMFS 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 
less than $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The 
determination of whether the entity is large or small is based on the 
average annual revenue for the most recent 3 years for which data are 
available (from 2015 through 2017).
    As of May 1, 2017 (beginning of fishing year 2017), NMFS had issued 
limited-access groundfish permits to 894 vessels.\1\ Each of these 
permits is eligible to join a sector or enroll in the common pool in 
fishing year 2019. Alternatively, each permit owner could also allow 
their permit to expire by failing to renew it. Each vessel may be 
individually owned or part of a larger corporate ownership structure, 
and for RFA purposes it is the ownership entity that is ultimately 
regulated by the proposed action. Ownership entities are identified on 
June 1 of each year based on the list of all permit numbers, for the 
most recent complete calendar year, that have applied for any type of 
Northeast Federal fishing permit. The current ownership data set is 
based on calendar year 2017 permits and contains gross sales associated 
with those permits for calendar years 2015 through 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For purposes of this analysis, groundfish limited access 
eligibilities held as Confirmation of Permit History (CPH) are not 
included because although they may generate revenue from ACE 
leasing, they do not generate any gross sales from fishing activity 
and thus would not be classified as commercial fishing entities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ownership data collected from permit holders indicates that there 
are 697 distinct business entities that hold at least one permit 
regulated by the proposed action. Of the 697 entities, 691 entities are 
categorized as small and 6 are categorized as large entities per the 
NMFS guidelines. All 691 small entities would be directly regulated by 
this proposed action.
    This proposed rule would implement specified universal regulatory 
exemptions that would provide more flexible management options to 
fishing businesses that join a sector. For this reason, the proposed 
rule will have a positive impact on all 697 entities, as it will allow 
them to participate in the sector groundfish fishery rather than fish 
under the common pool regulations, which include limits of days-at-sea, 
trip limits, gear restrictions, size limits, and closures intended to 
control overall fishing mortality. In addition, these effort controls 
would be subject to in-season modifications based on industry-wide 
landings. Conversely, the sector fishery would provide increased 
efficiency and flexibility to fishing businesses. Under the proposed 
rule, small entities would not be placed at a competitive disadvantage 
relative to large entities. As a result, an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: March 4, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons stated 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.  648.87, revise paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.87  Sector allocation.

* * * * *
    (d) Approved sector allocation proposals. Eligible NE multispecies 
vessels, as specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, may 
participate in the sectors identified in paragraphs (d)(1) through (26) 
of this section, provided the operations plan is approved by the 
Regional Administrator in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section 
and each participating vessel and vessel operator and/or vessel owner 
complies with the requirements of the operations plan, the requirements 
and conditions specified in the letter of authorization issued pursuant 
to paragraph (c) of this section, and all other requirements specified 
in this section. All operational aspects of these sectors shall be 
specified pursuant to the operations plan and sector contract, as 
required by this section.
    (1) GB Cod Hook Sector.
    (2) GB Cod Fixed Gear Sector.
    (3) Mooncusser Sector.
    (4) Sustainable Harvest Sector.
    (5) Sustainable Harvest Sector II.
    (6) Sustainable Harvest Sector III.
    (7) Port Clyde Community Groundfish Sector.
    (8) Northeast Fishery Sector I.
    (9) Northeast Fishery Sector II.
    (10) Northeast Fishery Sector III.
    (11) Northeast Fishery Sector IV.
    (12) Northeast Fishery Sector V.
    (13) Northeast Fishery Sector VI.
    (14) Northeast Fishery Sector VII.
    (15) Northeast Fishery Sector VIII.
    (16) Northeast Fishery Sector IX.
    (17) Northeast Fishery Sector X.
    (18) Northeast Fishery Sector XI.
    (19) Northeast Fishery Sector XII.
    (20) Northeast Fishery Sector XIII.
    (21) Tristate Sector.
    (22) Northeast Coastal Communities Sector.
    (23) State of Maine Permit Banking Sector.
    (24) State of Rhode Island Permit Bank Sector.
    (25) State of New Hampshire Permit Bank Sector.
    (26) State of Massachusetts Permit Bank Sector.

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2019-04141 Filed 3-6-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P